Durham Police getting $100,000 in new funding to help fight human trafficking and domestic violence

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Published September 21, 2023 at 2:20 pm

The Ontario government is awarding $100,000 to Durham Regional Police to help support victims and survivors of intimate partner and domestic violence, human trafficking, and child exploitation. The funding, being delivered through the Victim Support Grant program, is part of a province-wide investment of more than $4 million.

Durham Police will work with Victim Services of Durham Region (VSDR) and the Community Development Council of Durham to offer monthly information and education sessions to newcomers on intimate partner violence/gender- based violence, as well as connecting them with local community resources.

“Support for victims and survivors is a crucial first step to recovery,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner. “This important grant is part of our government’s plan to combat violent crime on our streets and ensure that victims are not left behind.”

The Victim Support Grant is part of Ontario’s Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy and complements the province’s $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy and Combating Human Trafficking Act initiatives.

DRPS Chief Peter Moreira was thankful for cash infusion and said the funds will support community outreach relationships and education and help officers increase community engagement and education to address and “hopefully reduce” intimate partner violence and human trafficking. “It also increases the ability of our officers to respond to the needs of victims and survivors.”

All municipal and First Nation police services as well as the Ontario Provincial Police are eligible to apply for funding through the VSG program.

“The recovery process for victims and survivors necessitates specialized support,” emphasized Whitby MPP Lorne Coe. “The crucial aim of the Victim Services Grant program is to proactively prevent risks and ensure timely, tailored access to essential services for the people most vulnerable. This represents a strong commitment by our Government in aiding those in distress.”

The funds can be used for a variety of projects and initiatives, including specialized training for law enforcement, culturally responsive education and awareness campaigns, and purchasing technology and equipment to enhance police investigations and provide survivors with the option to complete interviews remotely.

Of the 45 projects being funded across the province, 19 will focus on intimate partner violence and domestic violence, five on human trafficking, three on child exploitation, and 18 that will focus on all three areas.

The Ontario government is also investing more than $2 million in the Partner Assault Response (PAR) program to help break the cycle of intimate partner violence and keep communities safe. The PAR program provides specialized group education and counselling for people charged with intimate partner violence offences and offers support to current partners of those in the program.

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