Ontario’s Peel Region tragically saw a rise in domestic violence rates from 2016 to 2021 – a 3.5 per cent increase – which is why the region is launching a pilot project aiming to reduce this rate.
Safe Centre Response Teams will pair police constables with social workers for 12-hour shifts to respond to 911 calls for non-violent, non-criminal intimate partner violence, such as verbal abuse.
Peel Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah tells CBC News that thinking “outside the box” was key to finding a solution, adding that assisting families at the earlier end of the domestic violence spectrum could prevent circumstances from increasing in severity and avoid repeated calls that escalate violence.
Plus, social workers will help families in distress by going with police on calls where needed, meeting with families to best address root causes of conflict — something police officers aren’t trained to do.
Progress for the project will be measured with monthly assessments and a full review is expected by its six-month mark.
“The earlier we can intervene and prevent physical violence, the stronger our communities and families will be,” Brampton Centre MPP Charmaine Williams says.