The Ontario government is investing more than $4 million across the province to help support victims and survivors of intimate partner violence, domestic violence, human trafficking and child exploitation. The funding is being delivered through the Victim Support Grant (VSG) Program. The VSG Program is part of Ontario’s Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy and complements the province’s $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy, 2020-2025 and Combating Human Trafficking Act, 2021.
The following police services are receiving funding through this program for 2023-2024:
Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service: $100,000 – Human Trafficking and IPV Mobilization Project
Anishinabek Police Service: $100,000 – It Takes a Community
Anishinabek Police Services (APS) will work in collaboration with Niijaansinaanik Child and Family Services (NCFS) to support victims and survivors of child exploitation in the First Nations of Wasauksing, Shawanaga, Magnetawan, Henvey Inlet, and Dokis. Funding will provide opportunities for APS and NCFS team members to expand their skills and knowledge through cross-training. APS will share its experience in forensic interviewing, human trafficking and child exploitation, and NCFS will share prevention and protection approaches and frontline experience working with children who are vulnerable to exploitation.
Barrie Police Service: $100,000 – Project When You’re Ready Phase Two
This project will strengthen services provided by Barrie Native Friendship Centre (BNFC), Victim Services of Simcoe County (VSSC) and Barrie Police Service (BPS) that address the significant human trafficking problems in Barrie. Funding will help BNFC to create a lived-experience peer support program to assist survivors, enable VSSC to extend its human trafficking survivor supports and allow BPS to create a committee to enhance officer understanding and recognition of human trafficking.
Belleville Police Service: $100,000 – Survivor Centred Services
Belleville Police Service (BPS) will use funds to support a full-time victim services worker and create stronger partnerships with community agencies. BPS will expand its current referral system to better support victims and will increase education and awareness in the police service to help ensure frontline officers are aware of all available resources for victims of intimate partner violence, domestic violence and human trafficking.
Chatham Kent Police Service: $99,835 – Project Waypoint
Funding will be used to cross-train interviewers from Chatham Kent Police Service and Linck (Child, Youth and Family Support – Children’s Aid Society) in evidence-based interviewing techniques to improve the ability to obtain accurate and reliable information from victims and witnesses. This will help ensure a consistent approach to interviewing, reduce trauma and improve outcomes. Funding will also be used for awareness campaigns, and to ensure that police interviewing rooms are safe and comfortable for victims to help facilitate the disclosure of sensitive information.
Cobourg Police Service: $100,000 – Intimate Partner Abuse Response Strategy (IPARS)
Funding will be used to expand the Cobourg Police Service and the Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre’s Violence Against Women Response Enhancement Project and rebrand it as IPARS (Intimate Partner Abuse Response Strategy). The new program will expand the geographical reach, establish a full-time position, add services for sexual assault victims, increase training for officers linked to intimate partner abuse, and develop best-practice documentation for police, social service programs and domestic violence/sexual assault prevention centres.
Cornwall Police Service: $100,000 – Project Power Generator
Cornwall Police Service will build upon its existing Project Circuit Breaker that provides crucial support and services to victims of human trafficking (HT) and intimate partner violence. Project Power Generator initiatives with community partners will include adding a therapist with expertise in HT trauma, as well as improving resource information, victim navigation supports and education, and trauma-informed training for frontline police officers and employees of several partner organizations.
Durham Regional Police Service: $100,000 – Project Community Outreach Relationships and Education (C.O.R.E)
Durham Regional Police Service will work with Victim Services of Durham Region (VSDR) and the Community Development Council of Durham to offer monthly information and education sessions to newcomers on intimate partner violence/gender-based violence, as well as connecting them with local community resources. Funding will also be used for a crisis intervention counsellor from VSDR for youth under the age of 18, and to organize an annual youth empowerment symposium focused on healthy relationships, gun and gang violence, online safety, and consent.
Gananoque Police Service: $94,204 – Making a Difference: A Contemporary Victim Support Initiative – Gananoque Police Service and Partners
Gananoque Police Service and community partners will address gaps they have identified in their collective capacity to support victims and survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), human trafficking (HT), and child exploitation. Initiatives will include engaging Indigenous trainers/community facilitators to provide Indigenous awareness training, having officers attend more Ontario Police College courses and seminars related to IPV and HT, and expanding capacity to provide improved outreach to children and youth.
Greater Sudbury Police Service: $100,000 – Miindoo Waase Anung
For the Miindoo Waase Anung project, which translates to the spirit of light through the stars, Greater Sudbury Police Service will partner with five Indigenous agencies to help survivors and victims of human trafficking. Focusing on prevention, partnerships, and survivor empowerment through an Indigenous and trauma-informed lens, the project will include expanding education, providing enhanced training, and conducting community engagement.
Guelph Police Service: $100,000 – IPV/HT Victim Support
Funding will allow Guelph Police Service to continue to employ a victim support coordinator to serve as the point person and primary contact for victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) and human trafficking (HT) and for community partners that provide victim support. The position will ensure ongoing consistency and order to victim support processes, as well as continued IPV and HT public education and awareness. Guelph Police Service will also use funding to update the IPV and HT training provided to officers.
Halton Regional Police Service: $100,000 – Project “Sabrina”
Halton Regional Police Service’s Human Trafficking Unit will partner with the Elizabeth Fry Society and Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services of Halton to focus on intensive, specialized services and supports that victims of human trafficking often need to rebuild their lives. Supports such as crisis intervention, case management, housing, counseling, health and medical treatment, mental health assessments, addiction resources, and rehabilitation will help survivors move on from their trafficking experiences.
Hamilton Police Service: $100,000 – Community Liaison Program
Hamilton Police Service will enter into partnerships with Interval House of Hamilton (IHOH), Banyan Community Services and the YMCA of Hamilton/ Burlington/ Brantford. Female victims/survivors of intimate partner violence will be able to access IHOH for counselling, legal advocacy, transitional housing support and safety planning. Male, non-binary individuals, and couples will be directed to Banyan for counselling, assistance with employment, addictions, and safety planning. Victims/survivors of human trafficking (HT) will be referred to the YMCA for case management, including court support and access to personal items, food, and clothing. The Hamilton HT unit and YMCA will also conduct community presentations on HT.
Kingston Police: $63,080 – Supporting Victims of Intimate Partner Violence through Kingston Community Collaboration
Funding will be used to develop and deliver a three-day training course for frontline officers on intimate partner violence. It will also help establish case management mechanisms such as a common consent form (which would allow community agencies to share victim information to make appropriate referrals in a timely manner), and multi-sector situation tables for a more effective and coordinated approach to supporting victims.
London Police Service: $100,000 – The Victim Crisis Support Project
The Thames Valley Canadian Mental Health Association will provide a victim support worker and supervised, short-term shelter space for victims of intimate partner violence and human trafficking while arrangements are made with other community agencies for longer term supports. Funds will also be used to host a community outreach workshop to raise awareness about human trafficking and intimate partner violence in the London community.
Niagara Regional Police Service: $58,497 – Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking
Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) will use funds to have an experienced victim advocate work directly with NRPS officers for proactive and reactive investigations. The advocate will afford potential victims another voice in speaking with police officers to help overcome barriers and those who are hesitant to co-operate with police. The victim advocate will also work with Victim Services Niagara to help victims access resources from community agencies.
North Bay Police Service: $100,000 – Nipissing Victim Support Project
North Bay Police Service, in partnership with Victim Services of Nipissing District, will enhance capacity to support the needs of victims and survivors of intimate partner/domestic violence, human trafficking and child exploitation. The project will include a Northern Ontario training symposium on gender-based violence, an online child exploitation awareness campaign as well as tools, victim support kits, and trauma-informed training.
OPP – County of Brant: $60,170 – Prevention of Child Exploitation and Understanding Risks
Brant Ontario Provincial Police and Victim Services of Brant will use funds to focus on youth to help minimize or remove the risk of them being groomed and/or lured into potentially dangerous situations. This project will include access to a victim specialist for both police and youth; education and informational materials provided through a dedicated program from Victim Services of Durham; and information sessions for police facilitated by the victim specialist.
OPP – Hawkesbury: $93,720 – HT: A Unique Profile for Prescott-Russell
Ontario Provincial Police Hawkesbury and Prescott-Russell Victim Services will work together to enhance access to support for victims of human trafficking. The funds would be used for officer and partnership training symposium, focus groups for victims, counselling/therapy for the victims including temporary housing with emergency expenses needed. This will help victims recover and rebuild their lives.
OPP – Headquarters, Criminal Behaviour Analysis Section: $99,140 – Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment and Management: Coercive Control and Building Capacity for a Culturally Responsive Approach
Risk assessment is a core activity across criminal justice agencies and within social services. Funding will be used to support and enhance a more extensive examination of coercive control across relationships and gender, and assist with culturally sensitive intimate partner violence risk assessments. The project will build capacity in data collection, develop partnerships with Indigenous communities and service providers, and create tools and resources based on a culturally responsive understanding of risks.
OPP – Lanark County: $100,000 – Collaborative Approaches to Survivor Engagement (CASE) Upstream
Through a Lanark County Ontario Provincial Police and Lanark County Interval House and Community Support partnership, funding will be used to increase the hours available for victim advocates to help connect victims and survivors of domestic violence/intimate partner violence to resources and aid them in navigating the justice system. The CASE Upstream project will also offer training and education programs to help stop the cycle of violence before it starts.
OPP – Northwest Region – Dryden: $50,000 – Footprints North West – Dryden
This project will use funds to increase support for victims of intimate partner violence through education and operational support for both agencies and victims. Education will focus on youth and teachers; and culturally sensitive, trauma-informed training will be created by subject matter experts to be delivered by police and victim support advocate partners. The project will supplement existing programs such as the Victim Quick Response Program.
OPP – Northwest Region – Kenora: $100,000 – Project CAP (Collaboration, Awareness and Prevention)
Project CAP will help address the elevated risks of physical and mental health issues, poverty, and homelessness faced by victims of intimate partner violence (IPV). The project will offer an education component, along with flexible resources to assist victims of IPV to meet basic needs and be in a better position to face challenges that are not easily remedied with traditional supports.
OPP – Northwest Region – Rainy River: $50,000 – IPV awareness
This project is designed to provide current, relevant, and culturally appropriate intimate partner violence training to children, youth, and teachers in the region. Training will be created by engaging subject matter experts in intimate partner violence, trauma, child and youth development, and with First Nations elders/experts and persons with first-hand experience. Training will be delivered locally, in collaboration with police and victim advocate partners.
OPP – Northwest Region – Red Lake: $100,000 – IPV Collaboration
Funding will be used for women’s shelters to work together as partners to increase support for high-risk victims of intimate partner violence. The shelters will undertake educational and operational initiatives that will be open to all community victim support agencies and justice sector personnel to help eliminate the need for victims to interact directly with police in instances where the victims are not comfortable doing so.
OPP – Northwest Region – Sioux Lookout: $50,000 – IPV Project
Funding will be used for intimate partner violence initiatives that can be developed regionally but designed to meet the specific needs of each community. The project will include an educational component that can be used by specific communities/age ranges and expanded for broader usage.
OPP – Nottawasaga Detachment: $85,420 – Project Safe Paths
Funding will allow the continuation of Project Safe Paths that helps Nottawasaga Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and surrounding OPP detachments support victims of human trafficking and intimate partner violence. Project Safe Paths has two dedicated police crisis beds at Imani’s Place to facilitate referrals, provide protection and assist in rehabilitating victims of trafficking and intimate partner violence in a culturally affirming environment. The project will also fund B.R.I.G.H.T. (Bringing Real Internet Guidance to Help Teens) presentations at schools and in the community.
OPP – Perth County: $100,000 – Project Healing
Funding will be used for three Project Healing initiatives: to create a safe and comfortable space for intimate partner violence victims/survivors to disclose their experiences to law enforcement; to provide accessible, court-approved translation services for rural communities; and offer training for police and community service providers in areas such as trauma-informed approaches, risk assessment, supporting victims of crime, and investigative techniques.
OPP – United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Detachment: $100,000 – Victim Response Partnership Initiative
The Victim Response Partnership Initiative is a collaborative approach to enhance responses by police, justice, youth, community and social service partners when dealing with victims of intimate partner violence, human trafficking, and child exploitation. Funding will be used for police officer and community partner training, a victim advocate to support victims, completing a victim-centred interview room, and to increase public awareness.
OPP – Town of Goderich: $100,000 – VSG: Strengthening Awareness, Engagement & Collaboration
Funding will be used to enhance knowledge and support for victims/survivors of intimate partner violence, as well as focus on the urgent need to address the rising incidents of gender-based violence within the community through preventative awareness, community engagement, and collaborative efforts.
OPP – Township of Macdonald, Meredith & Aberdeen: $41,000 – Trauma Informed Interview Space
Funding will help renovate and furnish an interview room to create a victim-centered, trauma-informed space for victims/survivors of intimate partner violence, child exploitation, human trafficking; and sexual assault. This will create a private and secure environment for victim interviews and is expected to help increase reporting and charges against perpetrators.
Ottawa Police Service: $100,000 – Trauma and Violence Informed Policing
Ottawa Police Service (OPS) will use funds to improve the experiences of victims/survivors of intimate partner violence by building upon the recommendations of a multi-agency Violence Against Women advisory group. OPS will work with community service providers to develop supports to respond to victims/survivors during the criminal justice system process. The project will help enhance the capacity of the OPS to provide a safe environment for victims/survivors to come forward that recognizes victims’ rights and needs, as well as helps reduce secondary trauma.
Peel Regional Police: $100,000 – Project Navigation: Enhancing Safe Centre of Peel Supports for IPV survivors
Funding will be used to enhance how Peel Regional Police’s Intimate Partner Violence Unit makes referrals to and works collaboratively with the Safe Centre of Peel and its partners. Project Navigation will provide funding for client navigators and crisis workers, and assist the Safe Centre of Peel to raise awareness of services and resources available for intimate partner violence victims and survivors.
Sarnia Police Service: $98,998 – Enhanced Service Delivery for Victims and Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
Funding will help Sarnia Police Service (SPS), the Sarnia Lambton Coordinating Committee on Violence Against Women, and Victim Services of Sarnia-Lambton address the significant increase in incidents of domestic and intimate partner violence. Collaborative initiatives will include a trauma-informed response for those reporting incidents (frontline training), investigative training, and the integration of a victim services coordinator into the SPS to review incidents of intimate partner violence and provide ongoing outreach and support to victims/survivors.
Sault Ste. Marie Police Service: $97,000 – Interview Room Development
The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service will update its interview rooms to better meet the needs of victims of crime so they feel safe and secure when speaking with investigators or support workers. Giving victims a safe environment to tell their story, which can in turn lead to allowing investigators to proceed with charges, where applicable, will help empower victims or survivors of intimate partner violence to break the cycle of violence.
Six Nations Police Service: $100,000 – Multi-Sectoral Referral Workshops & IPV Training Initiative
The Six Nations Police Service (SNPS) will continue to develop relationships with partner agencies involved in assisting victims of intimate partner violence and domestic violence. It will focus on planning, organizing, and coordinating multi-sectoral, collaborative events; raising awareness of community members about services available; and increasing the number of training sessions related to intimate partner and domestic violence for frontline SNPS officers.
Smiths Falls Police Service: $94,859 – Making it Count 2.0: Building our Community Collaborative Capacity to Support Victims of Intimate Partner Violence and Child Exploitation
The Smiths Falls Police Service will work with community partners to address the rise in victimization due to intimate partner violence and child exploitation in Lanark County. Funds will be used to increase the capacity to support victims of sex crimes and intimate partner violence, through purposeful and effective police officer training, strengthening collaboration among community partners and providing public education and youth outreach.
St. Thomas Police Service: $52,832 – Supporting our Community Together Through Education and Awareness
Funds will be used to implement an additional victim support position within Victim Services Elgin that will assist in the response to increased calls for service in the areas of intimate partner violence and domestic violence. A Community Education Hub will also be created to support victims, including children and youth, and prevent unlawful activities that result in victimization.
Thunder Bay Police Service: $72,300 – Post Incident Victim Support Worker
Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) is partnering with Faye Peterson House to provide a victim-centred and trauma-informed approach to victims and survivors of intimate partner/domestic violence. Funding will support the hiring of a part-time victim specialist who will work with stakeholders to enhance victim support, and act as a liaison between TBPS and the victim to advocate for their needs/interests through the investigative process. Training in victim awareness and support will also be provided to police officers to improve their understanding of trauma-informed practice, build rapport, and provide better support to victims of intimate partner violence/domestic violence.
Toronto Police Service: $100,000 – Support for Survivors (SFS)
Support for Survivors, a partnership between Toronto Police Service (TPS) and Victim Services Toronto (VST), will improve capacity to better support victims of human trafficking and internet child exploitation, as well as secondary victims such as their families. A VST-trained crisis intervention counsellor will join TPS’ Sex Crimes Unit, which is responsible for identifying and charging human trafficking and internet child exploitation sex crimes.
Treaty Three Police Service: $100,000 – Empowering Survivors: A Unified Response for Victim Support in Treaty 3 Territory
This project focuses on establishing and enhancing a diverse array of resources that empower police and partner agencies to respond effectively and empathetically to victims and survivors of gender-based violence. In addition to initiatives to strengthen collaboration between police and non-police entities, funding will be used for tools to support frontline officers to effectively make referrals as well as develop a digital lending library and other virtual resources.
Waterloo Regional Police Service: $100,000 – Combating Human Trafficking and Cyber Crime in Waterloo Region
Waterloo Regional Police Service will partner with Victim Services of Waterloo Region to create a human trafficking (HT) and cyber crime victim advocate position within the HT Investigative Team. The advocate will serve as the primary point of contact for all HT support, while also building linkages with community service providers and providing victim support services in the form of safety equipment and other discretionary needs. Funding will also support public awareness and officer training.
Windsor Police Service: $96,954 – Return Support Discussions: Uncovering and Preventing Undisclosed Child Exploitation and Other Serious Harm Experienced by Vulnerable Frequently Missing Children and Youth
Funding will support a partnership of Windsor Police Service and the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Windsor Essex Youth and Wellness Hub to deliver a novel intervention tool designed to help reduce the incidents of child exploitation. The Return Support Discussion is a voluntary victim-centered interview of frequently missing children and youth who have been located/returned. Evidence-based research has shown this peer-conducted interview identifies previously unknown/undisclosed victimization and vulnerability for those most at risk of child exploitation.
Woodstock Police Service: $100,000 – Victim’s Voice
Woodstock Police Service (WPS), in partnership with Victim Assistance Service Oxford County, will work together to ensure people feel safe, secure, and supported in the community. In addition to initiatives to raise awareness about human trafficking, intimate partner violence, and child exploitation, funding will be used to help meet victim needs beyond what is available through counselling and legal support. WPS will provide “go bags” to victims that contain personal care, nutrition, contact information, and comfort and activity items for youth victims.
York Regional Police: $100,000 – Access to Justice: Integrated Services for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence
This initiative is led by York Regional Police, in partnership with York Region Centre for Community Safety (YRCCS) and the 482 Collective. These agencies provide a client-centred, service delivery hub for survivors of intimate partner violence and timely support of essential items such as food, personal hygiene products, and equitable access to wrap around services (medical, psychological, and dental) at no cost. Funding will also support embedding an officer at YRCCS to ensure equitable police service delivery to racialized victims/survivors, increasing the number of victims/survivors receiving assistance, and a public awareness campaign across York Region.