Manitoba is spending $2.1 million to establish a provincewide integrated child abuse response that will connect child victims and their families from across Manitoba to wraparound, child-centred supports, Premier Heather Stefanson and Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced Sunday.
“Our government is proud to stand with the women and men in uniform from across the province who put their lives at risk every day to protect our most vulnerable Manitobans and help make our streets safer,” said Stefanson.
“Our government will continue to work collaboratively with law enforcement and community partners to get violent criminals off the streets and provide the necessary supports to help Manitobans heal from their trauma.”
The new team will have the police and operational resources needed to investigate and address child abuse and exploitation, the premier noted.
“In the past five years, Manitoba has seen an increase in child abuse and exploitation,” said Goertzen.
“This is an unacceptable reality and our government is taking concrete action to intervene, protect children and families, and ensure perpetrators are held to account for their actions.”
The money is a part of the nearly $52 million earmarked in the proposed budget for 2023 to address violent crime in Manitoba.
“We are addressing the root causes of crime with more funding for homelessness and overnight shelters, while cracking down on violent criminals and repeat offenders,” said Goertzen.
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The initiative will build on the child-centred support model offered by the Toba Centre for Children and Youth, in collaboration with the Winnipeg Police Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
“The development of an integrated, specialized child abuse unit, housed at Toba Centre is a huge step forward in ensuring children and families who experience abuse receive the response they deserve,” said Christy Dzikowicz, executive director of the Toba Centre for Children and Youth.
“Manitoba is well on its way to having the most co-ordinated, collaborative and community-involved child abuse response in the country.”
Having wraparound care is critical for the well-being of children and families involved in investigations and having dedicated, integrated police resources will help to make this model available to children across the province, according to the premier and minister.
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