'A deep-rooted problem': Regina police unveil new approach to domestic conflict

On Wednesday the Regina Police Service announced a new policy aimed at improving the response to domestic conflict in the city.

Regina police now responding to about 1,000 more domestic conflict calls per year than in 2012

City councillor Barbara Young says she believes new Regina Police Service policy will help shed light on the severity of domestic conflict. (Cory Herperger/SRC News)

Regina police now receive an average of 17 domestic violence-related calls each day. That's up from about 14 such incidents each day in 2012 — an increase of roughly 1,000 calls per year.

That alarming statistic was revealed Wednesday, as the Regina Police Service announced a new policy aimed at improving its response to domestic conflict in the city.

"It is a problem. There's no question about it," said police Chief Evan Bray at a news conference. "We have one of the highest rates of domestic violence and domestic-related assaults in Canada."

A change in terminology

Police will now use the term "domestic conflict" to refer to a conflict that could occur between people in a variety of relationships — including between family members, cohabitants, and currently or formerly married, common-law or intimate partners.

The conflict could involve physical, sexual, psychological or emotional force that results in harm.

Chief Evan Bray spoke with reporters at police headquarters on Wednesday. (Cory Herperger/SRC News)

City councillor Barbara Young shared her story at Wednesday's conference of the domestic conflict she endured while with her ex-husband. She says it's important to acknowledge abuse can come in emotional and psychological forms.

"I think those kinds of abuse are even worse sometimes, because they can go on for a long period of time and can be very devastating to you as a person," said Young.

Regina police said they hope to connect people with community supports sooner to receive the important and sometimes life-saving help they need.

New resources

Officers and communication centre staff will now receive annual training to educate them on the impacts of trauma. Force members will learn that not everyone deals with physical and psychological effects in the same manner.

Coun. Barbara Young spoke with reporters about her experience with domestic conflict. (Cory Herperger/SRC News)

Additionally, a new Regina Police Service website was launched, which features resources related to domestic violence.

Reporting procedures for domestic conflicts will also change. In the past, a domestic incident would have to be reported at a police station's front desk. Now, a separate room will be available for those reporting such incidents.

"If you're talking about a deep-rooted problem of domestic violence in your family or some sort of domestic conflict that is very personal in nature, you're leaning in to a very small little cubicle trying to relate your story," said Bray.

"That's not conducive to people feeling comfortable and coming forward."

With files from Micki Cowan