Fredericton domestic violence issue focus of new police job
Intimate Partner Violence Co-ordinator will specifically deal with domestic violence in city
The Fredericton Police Department is creating a new full-time position for an officer to specifically deal with Fredericton’s domestic violence issue.
The department is planning to install a full-time officer to a new position called "Intimate Partner Violence Co-ordinator."
Fredericton police respond to about 500 domestic disturbance calls every year.
Those who work with victims of domestic violence welcome the new position.
"It's an amazing monster. It can take over the whole city but with all of us working together we're beginning to recognize and make new links," said Dianne Power, executive director of Women in Transition House.
Power has spent years trying to help women living in violent situations. She said having one police officer dedicated to all domestic violence cases in the city will mean consistency.
"In approach and level of knowledge and comfort of all the officers who are dealing with it. But yes, it will be great to have one go-to person when we're dealing with cases," she said.
Coun. John MacDermid said domestic violence numbers speak for themselves.
"The numbers reflect that we need, really, a specialized position within the police force to address it," he said.
Fredericton police have been working alongside the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research since 2005.
The facility developed a training program for police officers and most recently formed a working group about intimate partner violence — that's where the idea for this new position came from.
"We're walking away from a traditional way of policing. Police officers are reacting to crime and what they're trying to do now is to have a more proactive stand," said Carmen Gill, director of the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre.
The job of the intimate partner violence co-ordinator will be housed under the police department’s Neighbourhood Action Team. The officer will work closely with community organizations and will be able to identify those who are a risk to reoffend.
"With a coordinator there will always be somebody who will keep those files alive and who will be able to follow what's going on with those cases," said Gill.
Police Chief Leanne Fitch was unavailable for an on-camera interview Wednesday but she said the force hopes to have an officer chosen and trained in the coming months