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From the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Police Liaison Committee
for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities
Round Table Applauds Expansion of Police Partner Assault Unit
by Carroll Holland,
Community Worker,
May 18, 2000.
Community consultation leads to expanded partner assault section

OTTAWA-CARLETON Police have substantively increased staffing of their Partner Assault Section following extensive consultation with the community.

The Round Table Against Violence Against Women applauds the recent assignment of five new police officers to expand the Partner Assault Section responsible for combating domestic abuse.  The Round Table recently participated in a police-community working group that was brought together to identify issues in order to more effectively handle partner assault cases.

"Every person has the right to feel safe, particularly in their own home.  Domestic violence is a devastating crime that is an important priority with our community.  It is the most reported crime and one of the most destructive to women and children.  The police must have the resources necessary to effectively attack this crime.  It was clear from this working group that more was definitely needed," said Regional Councillor Wendy Byrne, Chair of the Round Table Against Violence Against Women.

The working group was made up of police from different service divisions; the Crown Attorney's Office, Probation Services, Social Services, the Round Table, Children's Aid Society, and various partner abuse service agencies and community members, including a respresentative of the Ottawa-Carleton Police Liaison Committee for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities.  The working group focused on seeking overall improvement of police service in the area of partner assault.  The primary recommendation of the working group was to increase staffing in the police's Partner Assault Unit.

Vince Bevan, the new Chief of Police, supported the expansion of the unit based on needs identified by the community working in partnership with Ottawa-Carleton Regional Police Services.

The working group also identified Thursday to Sunday as being the peak days for partner assault in Ottawa-Carleton.  As a result, Partner Assault Police Investigators will now be available 24 hours a day from Thursday to Sunday and for 20 hours a day Monday to Wednesday.  "We are pleased to see this improvement in service," said Councillor Byrne.

The unit investigates same-sex as well as opposite-sex incidents.  At the request of the Police Liaison Committee for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities, the new officers received an introduction to lesbian and gay partner abuse issues.  Personnel will provide an opportunity for more substantial training, plus training on transgender issues, later this year.

Earlier this year the Ottawa-Carleton Police Service changed the name of the Spousal Assault Section to Partner Assault to reflect the diversity of the community.