Saskatoon Police Service hopes to develop sufferer providers unit to satisfy neighborhood demand – Saskatoon

Saskatoon’s board of police commissioners received a report Thursday from the Saskatoon Police Service asking for funding to expand the victim services unit.

Chief of Police Troy Cooper said the discussion revolved around finding the funding to help support more victims in the city.

“What we talked about today was the potential to work with our provincial partners and lobby, perhaps, for federal funding to be able to increase the capacity and add more staff,” said Cooper.

The report said three areas need to be expanded upon:

  • creating human trafficking support to help victims of the rising crime
  • adding an additional indigenous resource officer
  • creation of a community relations victim support worker position to help victims of hate crime

Statistics were given to back up the report, with the Canadian Center for Justice and Community Safety Statistics saying that 96 percent of found victims of human trafficking were women and girls.

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One in four victims of human trafficking were under the age of 18, and one in five were between the ages of 25 and 34.

Saskatoon was also listed as having a notably higher rate of human trafficking in 2020, with 4.7 incidents per 100,000 population.

To rationalize the additional Indigenous resource officer, a stat was given saying that out of the 60 homicide victims in 2020 in Saskatchewan, 46 of them were Indigenous.

The report added that each homicide file has at least 12 family members, witnesses, or community members affected and needing support services.

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Public Safety Canada on Human Trafficking – Jul 30, 2022

It added that the creation of the community relations victim support worker will help newcomers and immigrants, the LGBTQ2S+ community, seniors, chronically ill or disabled people, homeless, people with mental health issues and addictions issues, and that the victims services unit is struggling to meet the demand of people within those communities that need assistance.

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“We look at crime as a wound in the community, and we need to be able to heal that wound. And justice sometimes is that answer, but more importantly having supports, and working with the victims, and looking at it as a victim-centred sort of approach is important, and we think victims services unit is the response that’s most adequate,” said Cooper .

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The victim services unit currently has six paid employees and roughly 40 volunteers.

Out of those, one coordinator and one administrative assistant deal with approximately 230 clients a month. Two staff are provided as indigenous resource officers, and they deal with roughly 125 clients a month. One person is assigned as a missing person liaison who deals with at least 70 clients a month, and another staff member also deals with 70 clients a month as a victim services responder.

It was also noted that a budget of $1,857 a year was set aside to recruit, train and retain the 40 volunteers.

Cooper said they relied very heavily on volunteers and are always looking for new ones.

“I think this is a lean program, there’s not a lot of extras for the staff, or for the volunteers. People are there because they care, and people are there for the benefit of the victims.”

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NS workshop seeks to improve resources for human trafficking survivors

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