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New partnership between Windsor Police and Family Services Windsor-Essex aims to reduce intimate partner violence rates

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Intimate partner violence has been declared an epidemic in the City of Windsor with incidences on the rise in recent years.

But a new partnership looks to nip it in the bud through preventative outreach work.

The partnership, between Windsor Police and Family Services Windsor-Essex is called the early intervention and prevention program.

According to Windsor police, In just five months of 2024, the service has received more than 1,200 calls related to intimate partner violence (IPV).

“It seems like every year it's going up. People are are more aware of the importance of reporting intimate partner violence neighbors are more aware family members are more aware,” said Staff Sgt. Rich Sieberer of the Windsor Police Service.

Of those calls, 600 didn’t result in charges, but 646 calls did.

“In response to this crisis, the Windsor police services is partnering with Family Services to launch the early intervention program. This partnership aims at supporting those involved in intimate partner relations and situations before they escalate,” said Sgt. Sieberer.

When police respond to cases involving IPV, they will ask victims of cases which did not result in charges for their consent to share their info with Family Services Windsor-Essex, which will then follow up and tailor their response to the individual.

“Our priority is to first and foremost assess risk. But to also build a relationship that is founded on trust because within that trust, we're then able to build rapport and open up the dialogue,” said Ciara Holmes, the director of mental health and family programs at Family Services Windsor-Essex.

Since the program launched in May, 33 people have already sought the services.

“This proactive outreach is designed to provide the right services early, reducing the likelihood of police involvement later,” said Sgt. Sieberer.

The most important part of the new initiative is to intervene in these intimate partner violence complains with the right resources before disagreements escalate to violence.

“We can't continue to work downstream and being responsive when a you know charge has already taken place,” said Holmes. “We have to start to look upstream and look at new initiatives and what's working within other communities to help reduce those rates.”

Windsor police will closely monitor data to measure success of the program and hope it becomes a long-term, sustainable model.

“This program represents a vital step in our commitment to preventing intimate partner violence and ensuring the safety and well-being of community members,” said Holmes.

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