Safe Centre Response Teams help police tackle family violence in Mississauga and Brampton


Published January 17, 2023 at 12:58 pm

Members of the Safe Centre Response Teams, a collaboration between the Safe Centre of Peel, Peel Regional Police and Catholic Family Services. (Photo courtesy of Peel Regional Police)

A first-of-its-kind partnership has police and support workers in Mississauga and Brampton teaming up to help families dealing with intimate partner violence.

A collaboration between the Safe Centre of Peel, Peel Regional Police and Catholic Family Services, the new Safe Centre Response Teams are part of a pilot project to tackle family and intimate partner violence in the Region of Peel.

The teams pair a mobile support worker with a specially trained police officer to intimate partner situations, and the pilot will see the creation of two Safe Centre Response Teams. Teams will rotate on 12-hour shifts and will be dispatched to non-criminal, non-violent calls focused on intimate partner violence.

“These teams will bridge the gap that currently exists between initial in-crisis response and the provision of complex care typically provided post-incident by community human service providers,” said Peel Regional Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah.

Duraiappah says family and intimate partner violence is a growing issue for officers.

Last year, Peel police received some 17,000 calls related to family and intimate partner violence for an average of 45 calls per day, and Duraiappah also highlighted a 3.5 per cent increase in intimate partner violence incidents between 2016 and 2021, calling the statistics “heartbreaking.”

Shelina Jeshani, director of strategic partnerships and collaboration with Safe Centre of Peel, said the teams will help families with early intervention and connect victims and survivors of family and intimate violence to get the help they require, find solutions, and access services.

“I feel like I have to punch myself because we have been dreaming about this day for a long time, and through amazing collaboration, we are excited to be embarking on this groundbreaking project with Peel Regional Police,” Jeshani said at a press conference on Tuesday (Jan. 17).

Since first partnering with the Safe Centre of Peel in 2011, Duraiappah said Peel Regional Police have assisted over 3,000 survivors and victims of family and intimate partner violence.

Sharon Mayne Devine, CEO of Catholic Family Services Peel Dufferin said the new teams are an important step in supporting at-risk couples and families before violence occurs.

“Earlier intervention will not only save lives, but it will also minimize the impacts of trauma on victims, their children, families, and communities and connect them to the services they need when they need them the most,” Devine said.

If you or someone you know may be a victim of family or intimate partner violence, call Peel Regional Police at 905-453-3311. If a violent incident is in progress and you are in immediate danger, call 9‑1‑1.

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