Explain to us what inspired you to get into this work?
I was inspired to become part of the Special Victims Unit largely due to the fact that it is a multi-faceted role which has the common thread of supporting and helping those who are the most vulnerable of victims in our community. The Special Victims Unit takes carriage of such investigations as Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Assaults, Child Abuse and Neglect, Human Trafficking and Elder Abuse. I have the privilege and honor of working with victims of all ages and walks of life, whether though investigative means or supportive means, to work towards helping them through some of the worst times in their lives.
Can you explain a bit more about the support services your unit provides to those who have or are at risk, of experiencing gender-based violence?
The Special Victims Unit at the Woodstock Police Service works towards supporting our victims, both through investigation, as well as through connecting them to support services specifically for what they are needing during a difficult time in their lives. The Special Victims Unit works closely with multiple community partners, and can assist to resource out what supports a victim may require. We do these things by placing referrals, connecting victims directly to the resource, as well as creating networking support groups in situations where victims may need multiple supports.
For those who have, or are at risk of experiencing gender based violence, we are able to meet with the victims, learn their story, educate on what is gender based violence and what it may look like, such as the warning signs and red flags to watch for, conduct investigations and conduct safety planning for themselves and their families. The SVU can be used as a conduit for victims to everything available to them in the community.
What are some myths that exist about the role the Police play in supporting victims, and what would you like victims to know?
I believe that one myth, or fear that may exist for victims, is the fear of judgement. As an investigator with the SVU it is not part of my job to pass judgement on anyone. It is my job to learn, assess, educate, investigate, assist to keep safe and set victims up for a successful path moving forward.
I believe another myth is that there isn’t many available supports for vulnerable victims. There is a multitude of supports available to the vulnerable victims in our community. Each victim is unique and each have different needs when it comes to safety planning and supports. When victims work together with the SVU, we are able to get them connected, supported and are always available to them for a resource.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
If you believe, or someone you know is believed to be a vulnerable victim of Intimate partner violence, or any of the other offences the Special Victims Unit supports please do not hesitate to call (519-537-2323 ext. 3235). If you, or someone you know is in immediate danger call 911 immediately.