THANS RESPONSE to RCMP Voicemail Incident

April 2, 2014 Halifax, NS
The Transition House Association of Nova Scotia has been following the story of the ”accidental voice mail” that a woman, whose partner has been charged with assault, found and listened to on her voice messages at the end of last month.
Our respect and thanks go out to this woman, whose courage in reporting her experience of violence to police is to be applauded, and whose willingness to report inappropriate language and behaviour of police officers to the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP should provide a forum for discussion around this shocking incident.
We agree with the Minister for the Status of Women, Joanne Bernard, who was quoted in a Chronicle Herald piece today, about the number of “…tremendously professional and sympathetic law enforcement folks…” within both local and national policing services in Nova Scotia. We work with and are grateful to these wonderful officers.
For the past six or seven years, representatives from our member organizations have attended Domestic Violence Educator’s Train-the-Trainer workshops, provided by the Department of Justice, where RCMP, local police, probation, court services, community organizations and crown have participated. We know that RCMP and Police leaders support this training and ongoing training within detachments. We also work closely with RCMP Victim Services.
Is this training supported within local detachments? Are these officers given the regular opportunity to share their training, information and skills to their fellow officers? Do they, as suggested in the training, ask representatives from community organizations to provide the training with them, in order that different perspectives are heard, and robust discussions take place about intimate partner violence, and how best they can serve the needs of victims? These are the questions we should all be asking.
Sadly, this incident has no doubt influenced a huge number of women’s perspectives about how they can expect to be treated by police and how safe police will actually make them. We encourage women to continue to report physical assaults, and to access community-based services as well:
For these women’s information:
 You are not alone
 You do not need to be a resident of a transition house to receive services
 You can reach skilled counsellors available by phone 24/7 for counselling and safety planning
 You do not need to give your name in order to receive those services by phone
 You can also access in-person outreach services

We are willing, and in fact, eager to work with our local detachments and policing services across the province to ensure that the needs of women who have been assaulted are met.
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For further information contact:
Pamela Harrison
Provincial Coordinator
Transition House Association of Nova Scotia
[w] 429-7287 [c] 456-1030