October 22, 2018

Violence Prevention Week in Saskatchewan

Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan and Minister Responsible for Status of Women Office Tina Beaudry-Mellor, have proclaimed October 22-26, 2018 as Violence Prevention Week in Saskatchewan.

“Saskatchewan’s high rate of violence cannot be tolerated,” Morgan said.  “Government, organizations, communities and all Saskatchewan residents need to work together to stop violence and abuse in our communities.”

“Saskatchewan has very high rates of interpersonal abuse and domestic violence,” Beaudry-Mellor said.  “We are working on direct and indirect responses to this very important issue for everyone.”

The proclamation provides an opportunity to focus on violence prevention, improve the response to violence, and reduce the harm caused by violence to individuals and communities.

The proclamation was requested by Regina Police Chief Evan Bray.

“We need to understand violence as it relates to people,” Bray said.  “Statistics tell a story, but what the members of our police service encounter every day is not stats, but people who have been victims of violence.  This is a great opportunity to talk about this issue and commit collaboratively to ending violence in our community.”

The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to working with police services and community-based organizations on efforts to reduce violence.

Tracy Knutson, provincial co-ordinator with the group STOPS to Violence, said Saskatchewan Violence Prevention Week is a great opportunity for focused attention to address the impact of violence in our province.

“The first step is awareness, the second is action,” Knutson said.  “We can all do something to help build a healthy, vibrant Saskatchewan where all people are valued equally and live free from violence and abuse.”

This year, the province developed a number of new tools for those encountering violence and for those working to support victims.

They include:

  • Launch of the Legal Information and Advice for Survivors of Sexual Violence (Listen) program, a four-year partnership with Federal Justice and Public Legal Education Association.  The “Listen” program provides free legal advice to survivors of sexual violence.
  • The Saskatchewan Police Commission implemented a new policy for the conduct of investigations into incidents of intimate partner violence.
  • Conservation Officers and Highway Patrol Officers have received training on interpersonal violence to gain an understanding of what a victim is going through and how to appropriately intervene when they respond to calls as part of their expanded role with the Protection Response Team (PRT).  They also received training in mental health first aid.
  • Government also announced four immediate actions in response to the Domestic Violence Death Review (DVDR):

o             Provision of two additional crisis workers for domestic violence and sexual assault;

o             Implementation of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Act;

o             Expansion of the Children Exposed to Violence program in the north; and

o             Expansion of the “Kids on the Block” (KOTB) and “Kids Matter” programs in the north.  KOTB and Kids Matter are programs delivered by the Regina Sexual Assault Centre and STOPS to Violence that educate elementary school aged children on safety, wellness, diversity and social issues.

The government also announced the expansion of the Status of Women Office to oversee the implementation of the DVDR recommendations and the development of a broader plan to address interpersonal violence and abuse.