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Cowichan Valley Integrated Response Team is up and running

The Cowichan Valley Integrated Response Team is now up and running in the region.

One of 10 “situation tables’ in B.C. and funded by the provincial government, the CVIRT’s goal is to work “with front-line service providers to enhance their ability to collaboratively respond to community safety challenges, clients and families that are at risk of harm or victimization.”

The first group in the province to complete their training, the CVIRT will now meet weekly with representatives from health, public safety and social service agencies and “proactively accept referrals and identify vulnerable individuals or families who have significant probability of criminal offending, experiencing harm or victimization or living at an acutely elevated risk.”

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP Cpl. Kim Granneman, unit commander in charge of the Crimes Against Persons Unit is credited with doing the leg work to get the team up and running, and is backed by the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan.

“Without local government support, the funding would not have been granted to our community. We want to intervene quickly and assist those who are wanting and willing to accept help,” Granneman explained. “Without the strong collaborative approach of the team and partnerships formed with Cowichan Tribes and local community agencies, this table would not have been created. I sincerely hope the community takes advantage of this initiative and accepts the assistance of those who can provide it.”

The premise of the team is to identify and address those at risk and match them with the required services before they become problems within the community and require police intervention.

“An individual or family living at an acutely elevated risk will often struggle with addictions, basic needs, crime victimization, criminal involvement, drugs, emotional violence, housing issues, school truancy, anti-social behaviour, public safety risk, suicide, poverty, unemployment etc. The goal of the team is to review referrals and if accepted, an intervention team is formed to provide better, faster access to services in the community,” said a news release.

The team’s efforts have been noted by RCMP brass.

“The hard work that Cpl. Granneman and our community partners have put into getting this team up and running is fantastic,” said North Cowichan/Duncan detachment commander Insp. Chris Bear. “The vulnerable persons in our communities now have a team of connected professionals who can work together to create solutions for those who need a helping hand.”

A grant of $30,000 was provided by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s Office of Crime Reduction and Gang Outreach for the project.

The office has invested more than $1.1 million since 2017 to develop new tables or enhance existing ones, with another $240,000 to provide funding to seven more communities this year.

There are currently 10 situation tables operating in B.C., with work underway on 11 more.

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Sarah Simpson

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