Changes to Calgary’s Domestic Conflict Response Team could lead to delays for families in conflict

No one seems to question the value of the Domestic Conflict Response Team, a long-running program started by the non-profit social agency Homefront in Calgary nearly a decade ago.

A Calgary police detective says he and his colleagues think so highly of the DCRT that they refer to it as the “homicide prevention unit.”

“Generally speaking, the end result of domestic violence will be death, people are going to die,” said Det. David Keagan.

But the future of the program — an early domestic violence intervention partnership involving social agencies and Calgary police — is uncertain.

A case manager from Homefront and a Calgary police constable follow up on a domestic conflict as part of the Domestic Conflict Response Team in December 2010. YW Calgary took over the program in April. (Homefront)

Homefront, which ran the program for about eight years, offered either a case worker or a social worker in each of the city’s eight police districts.

Those workers would partner up with an officer in the CPS’s domestic conflict unit to visit families where police were called to a domestic related-incident, but charges were not laid.

According to Homefront, the team provided “collaborative, timely and effective assessment, intervention and referral service for people who are at risk of further incidents of domestic conflict.”

YW Calgary took over the program in April. It has only committed two social workers to the team because of funding restraints and other program demands.

“We’re hoping by the fall … we’ll have a better sense of where we’re going,” said Heather Morley, the vice-president of programs and services at YW Calgary, the largest and longest serving women’s organization in the city.

Calgary Det. David Keagan says early intervention is vital to preventing an escalation in domestic violence. (Bryan Labby)

Keagan says the YW Calgary has many resources to draw upon that will help people in potentially abusive and violent relationships, but he says it may take longer to reach people who need help.

“It might, but we safety plan for that. We put in protocols that we understand that it might take an extra period of time, so we just work on that,” said Keagan.

“Before, there was a social worker that was there. Now, there’s a social worker who we refer to,” he said.

He says early intervention is vital to preventing an escalation in violence.

The Calgary Police Service says in 2017:

  • Seven of the 29 homicides in Calgary were domestic-related.
  • Seven attempted homicides were domestic.
  • Charges were laid in 4,083 domestic-related assaults, nearly 1,400 higher than the five-year average.

The DCRT responded to 562 calls last year. Keagan says they are on pace for 600 this year. 

A 2015 report suggested two-thirds of families visited by the DCRT experienced no further conflict.

The program run by Homefront cost nearly $1 million per year, but the agency’s executive director, Maggie MacKillop, said in an email to CBC News that “the lack of sustainable and reliable funding” led to the transition to YW Calgary.

Heather Morley, vice-president of programs and services at YW Calgary, says the agency hopes to have a better sense of where the DCRT program is going by fall. (Bryan Labby)

YW Calgary would not say how much money it has committed to run the program until the review in the fall.

But Morley hinted that YW Calgary will need support from other agencies to ensure the DCRT continues. 

“I think everyone in the sector, it’s really important for us to align our resources better, that we’re efficient in what we do, that we’re meeting needs of the families who reach out to us and that there isn’t duplication of effort, that there isn’t any waste of resources,” she said.


Bryan Labby is an enterprise reporter with CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach him at bryan.labby@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @CBCBryan.




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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.

History

Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
Geography

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

Originally posted 2018-07-16 05:30:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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