More than 20,000 professionals throughout the province will receive training on addressing domestic violence as part of the B.C. government's action plan, released today, that outlines the steps to strengthen the response to domestic violence.
Taking Action on Domestic Violence in British Columbia responds to recommendations made in the Representative for Children and Youth's March 2012 report, Honouring Kaitlynne, Max and Cordon: Make Their Voices Heard Now.
The plan lays out key actions, with targets and timelines for completion, including:
- This year, training on recognizing and responding to domestic violence is being provided to approximately 4,000 school personnel and community partners and 2,500 support workers in victim services, violence against women, and transition house programs.
- Beginning in 2013, approximately 3,500 Ministry of Children and Family Development staff, and an additional 13,000 school personnel, will receive training regarding domestic violence, and police officers will receive additional training on assessing risk and safety planning.
- Introducing an enhanced flagging system in the integrated justice information database (JUSTIN), used by police and Crown counsel for almost every aspect of a criminal case, to improve identification of files involving child victims (starting in 2012).
- Identifying all domestic violence training programs for service providers across government to identify strengths, duplications and gaps, and develop additional training or revise training as necessary (already underway).
- Identifying prototype locations within two B.C. communities (one urban and one rural) to pilot and evaluate protocols that deal with domestic violence cases. This will include hospital, primary-care and relevant health-authority and community-level services and relevant victim-serving agencies (starting in 2012).
- Hosting provincial consultation forums on addressing domestic violence, with a number of government and community partners invited to attend (starting in 2012).
Led by the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence, the action plan sets the course towards a co-ordinated approach to addressing domestic violence across the child and family-serving systems in B.C.
The plan was developed in consultation with the ministries of Children and Family Development, Health, Justice, Social Development, Education and Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. The Representative for Children and Youth was also consulted on this plan.
While immediate- and short-term steps are being taken, the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence will develop a three-year comprehensive provincial plan to address domestic violence over the long term that will include an Aboriginal-specific strategy. The provincial plan will be ready for implementation in 2013.
The Provincial Office of Domestic Violence was created in March 2012 and is the permanent lead for the B.C. government, focussed on strengthening the services and supports available for children, women and families impacted by domestic violence.
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development -
"The B.C. government is committed to improving how we respond to domestic violence. That's why we immediately established the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence in response to the Representative's report. Under the guidance of that office, I am confident this action plan presents a strong, cohesive approach to protecting and supporting victims of domestic violence."
Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General -
"Our government commits more than $70 million a year in prevention and intervention services and programs to better protect B.C. families involved in domestic violence and other crimes."
"Our groundbreaking Family Law Act, which will come into force on March 18th, 2013, explicitly defines family violence. The new act will also replace restraining orders with a new protection order, which will create a stronger measure to protect women, children and families. A breach of a protection order will constitute a criminal offence."
Read the action plan at: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/podv/index.htm
Ministry of Children and Family Development