Community Safety and Policing Grant - Jan 21/21

The government is committed to providing police services across the province with the tools they need to combat crime and keep our communities safe.  One of the ways we are doing that is through the Community Safety and Policing Grant program.  We are announcing an additional $2.8 million investment over two years to respond to public safety priorities, including gun and gang violence, sexual violence and harassment, and human trafficking.  Of this new investment, approximately $175,000 will be provided to the Orillia Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Detachment.

Ontario’s police play a key role in maintaining public safety. They know what it takes to combat crime and hold offenders accountable.  This crucial investment will help more Ontario communities take direct action where, and when, it’s needed to keep us all safe.

The funds for the Orillia OPP Detachment will assist with a streamlined and collaborative response to sexual violence.

A large number of sexual violence reports are made after the fact by the victim themselves and when there is no immediate safety concern. Another common report is made by a third party, or even a professional such as a child protection worker or long-term care home worker.

The Orillia Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Detachment will dedicate a uniform constable responsible for the initial intake of all sexual violence reports, unless emergent response is required. This will enable deployment of other front-line uniform officers when and where they are needed the most. This streamlined response would be done in a victim-centered manner with a wholesome understanding of trauma, truly putting the array of victims’ needs at the forefront.

Upon the initial call made to the OPP Communication Centre, the civilian call-taker would collect the initial information then assign the dedicated officer for follow up. The officer would then speak directly with the person reporting to collect the minimal statement of facts, proper contact information, conduct a victims’ needs assessment, explain the investigation process and answer any questions they may have. After obtaining consent, the officer would make a referral to North Simcoe Victim Services, assess evidence collection and review safety planning. If medical assessment and/or evidence collection is required, the officer will ensure arrangements are made to attend and liaise with the Sexual Assault Treatment Centre at the closest hospital. This response from the onset of the victim’s call will provide immediate action and information for the person reporting and provide transparency on the process and options available to the victim. The intake officer will provide information to the victim about support services, the criminal justice system process and provide clear timelines to allow for the victim to make the informed decisions moving forward.

The dedicated officer would be trained on the sensitive, informative and transparent initial response that is required and work with the Detective Sergeant who will assign a pre-identified and specially trained officer or detective to continue the investigative steps.

The partnerships that are foreseen for this initiative include North Victim Services, The Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka, Family Connexions, Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (SV&DV Treatment Centre) and Enaagtig Healing Lodge. Collaboration with the partners and funding from this grant will allow for the design of a one-day workshop on “Investigative Excellence for Sexual Violence Cases”, to be delivered to all members of the Orillia OPP Detachment, as well as a formalized joint response established for sexual violence victims.

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