Access to domestic violence training for police advanced today with the launch of a new online course developed to help police better protect vulnerable women and families. The new course, the second in a three-phase training program, provides an in-depth look at how police assess domestic violence risk, with a focus on victim-safety planning. This course will also help to further improve and standardize practices around inter-agency co-operation, risk assessment, bail hearings and safety planning for families. Topics include:
- Understanding domestic violence risk factors.
- Conducting investigations in cases where cultural and language factors are in play.
- Understanding the highest risk protocol and other aspects of the Violence Against Women in Relationships (VAWIR) policy.
- Understanding the new Family Law Act protection orders.
“Family violence is damaging to everyone involved, and we continue our aggressive and multifaceted approach to prevent it,” said Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton. “Our comprehensive approach to domestic violence training for police is unique in Canada, and its expansion means front-line investigators anywhere in B.C. will be able to gain a more in-depth understanding of how to assess and manage the risk factors that stem from family violence.”
The new course, which takes three to five hours to complete, is accompanied by a wallet card that helps police focus their domestic violence investigation on identifying critical risk factors, plan and guide interviews, justify release or detention of the accused, and complete mandatory risk-assessment information for police reports, bail hearings and reports to Crown counsel. This course is a follow-up for all police who have completed the first course in the series, which launched in 2009. To date, more than 8,600 front-line police officers and supervisors have completed the first course, which provided a general introduction to domestic violence investigations, with a focus on provincial policies such as the VAWIR policy.
B-SAFER, a guide for assessing risk of spousal assault in criminal and civil justice settings, is considered an advanced risk assessment tool for B.C. police. An advanced B-SAFER training course (phase three of the training program) is also available for specialized investigators and supervisors, and has already been taken by approximately 200 officers for assessing risk in the highest-risk domestic violence cases.
“B.C.’s Provincial Office of Domestic Violence has worked closely with the Ministry of Justice to engage with the Criminal Justice Branch and support steps towards justice reform,” commented Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux. “We continue to work collaboratively across government to address domestic violence by strengthening programs and services throughout the child and family-serving systems in B.C.”
You can learn more about the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence online, and to find out more about domestic violence in B.C., and learn what to do if you have a friend or family member who is being abused, go to: www.domesticviolencebc.ca or www.victimlinkbc.ca.