Groundbreaking domestic violence team to be formed

Campbell River currently does not have an Interagency Case Assessment Team

A team of community outreach workers are hoping to form a Campbell River group that will work to prevent homicides that are a result of domestic violence.

Three guest speakers, who travel around the province to help local outreach workers form such teams, made presentations to 45 local health, police, First Nations and social service providers at the Maritime Heritage Centre Wednesday and Thursday.

The workshop was initiated by the Campbell River Women’s Centre as part of its Walking With Our Sisters project – a three-year undertaking by the Vancouver Island North Women’s Resource Society to provide better access to services for women who have experienced gender-based violence.

Georgette Whitehead, executive director of the Women’s Resource Society, said her goal is to have what’s called an Interagency Case Assessment Team formed in Campbell River.

“A team comes together with specialized services,” Whitehead said. “This is pretty groundbreaking.”

Campbell River currently does not have an Interagency Case Assessment Team (ICAT), however, there are already at least 25 set up in communities across B.C.

Gail Edinger of 100 Mile House and Debby Hamilton from Vernon who are both part of the community co-ordination for women’s safety organization, along with Penticton RCMP Const. Jeremy Bubar, travel the province to help local agencies form ICATs.

Hamilton said the teams work together to help those who are experiencing domestic violence.

“They collaborate and people get together from different agencies such as RCMP, health, and women’s services organizations, to share information within legal parameters to keep women and children safer to provide interventions and accountability to the offender,” Hamilton said.

Edinger said the ICATs deal with the highest risk cases of domestic violence and the goal is homicide prevention.

Const. Bubar there are a number of ways the team carries out prevention.

“One of the functions of the ICAT team is to put together a safety plan to advocate for women’s and children’s safety,” Bubar said.

Other ways the ICAT team may step in are by providing some funding to install a security system at the victim’s home; arrange for funding through Income Assistance; or arranging a stay at a transition house.

It also includes working with the offender on rehabilitation.

“We also work to support the offender so his level of violence is de-escalated,” Edinger said. “We work to keep the women safe through de-escalating the offenders.”