Domestic Offender Crimes Section (Details)

Name of province/ territory:


City/ Region:


Description of Initiative:

To better address domestic violence and prevent intimate partner violence, the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) converted its existing Spousal Violence Intervention Team into a Domestic Offender Crimes Section (DOCS) in September 2010. DOCS is made up of the Domestic Offender Crimes Investigative Team, Domestic Violence Intervention Teams and the Docket Court Team.

The Domestic Offender Crimes Investigative Team consists of six detectives responsible for files involving domestic crimes of an extremely violent or complex nature. The detectives are specially trained to address intimate-partner violence. Domestic Violence Intervention Teams are made up of a constable and a City of Edmonton social worker. These teams perform risk assessments of individual cases, make appropriate interventions and work with other agencies to coordinate plans for family reconciliation and safety. The Docket Court Team, also made up of a constable and a City of Edmonton social worker, conducts interviews with those involved in a case, makes recommendations to the Crown, and liaises with outside agencies and the other members of the DOCS team.

Initiative Key Objectives:

The Domestic Offender Crimes Section aims to prevent domestic violence offences within the city of Edmonton through victim-based intervention, strict judicial conditions, incarceration, offender management, sentencing and advocacy strategies and offender-based harm reduction strategies.

Section Responsible for Implementation:

The Domestic Offender Crimes Section under Serious Crimes Branch

Key Contact:

Darcy Strang

Groups/ Agencies/ Key Partners Involved:

  • community groups
  • other government departments/agencies

Level of Involvement (consultative - information sharing) and/or cooperative - direct involvement):

Different levels of consultation and direct involvement with the City of Edmonton, Children and Family Services, Probation/Parole.

External partnerships:

  • Aboriginal Consulting Services
  • ADT Security Services for DVER alarms
  • Alberta Children Services
  • Alberta Works Income Security
  • Boyle McCauley and Bissell Centre
  • Capital Region Housing Corporation
  • Child At Risk Response Teams (CARRT)
  • Changing Together
  • City of Edmonton Community Services
  • Edmonton and Area Child and Family
  • Services
  • Edmonton Food Bank
  • Emergency Protection Order Project
  • Family Justice Services
  • Financial Benefits Program (VSU)
  • Jasper Health & Wellness
  • John Howard Society
  • Legal Aid Alberta
  • Mennonite Centre
  • Mental Health Crisis Unit
  • Multi Cultural Health brokers
  • Poundmakers Lodge
  • Rogers Wireless
  • Shelters for abused women
  • St. Vincent De Paul
  • Victim Services Unit
  • Women Building Futures

Amount of Time Initiative has been in Place:

The delivery model, recommended by a 2010 Functionality Report, commenced on September 13, 2010. It was based on the Spousal Violence Intervention Team (SVIT) model, in place from 1991 to September 12, 2010.

Reason for Undertaking the Initiative:


Resources Required to Implement this Initiative:

Overtime and human resource capacity are the two most significant resources needed to operate the Domestic Offender Crimes Section.

Method of Implementation:

There was no pilot project; the model was initiated after a review of the previous model.

Key Outcomes of the Initiative:

The six DOCS detectives handle about 100 files per year with a 92% conviction rate. The new DOCS model has resulted in performance improvements in the investigation of serious and complex cases, the debriefing of investigations, and the assessment of outcomes for potential risk reduction. DOCS detectives have assisted patrol officers with complex investigations and participated in a number of successful criminal investigations that have resulted in positive feedback from the Crown Prosecutor's Office. Through cross-training between social workers and the DOCS team, there is better understanding between police and social services regarding the work of each service on domestic violence. An evaluation of this initiative is not planned at this time.

Availability of a Communication Strategy:


Key Messages used to Publicize the Initiative:


Forms of Evaluation by which the Initiative will be Assessed:

  • internal
  • quantitative
  • qualitative

Evaluation Completed or Community Feedback Received:


Summary of the Outcomes:

In addition to the key outcomes mentioned in "Key Outcomes of the Initiative," a positive mentoring relationship has been developed between patrol members and DOCS detectives whereby the detective utilizes the initial primary constable to assist in the investigation even after the detective has assumed the file as primary. This assists patrol members with complex investigations, which optimizes patrol services’ time spent on domestic violence files.

DOCS’s participation in a number of successful criminal investigations has resulted in positive feedback from the Crown Prosecutor’s Office. Comprehensive Crown packages are now the expected standard by the Crown for DOCS investigations.

Benefits for the victims: professional handling of complex and serious cases, knowledge of and access to supports and other community assistance, expert legal advice in relation to EPOs and other types of restraining orders. We reduce the risk of re-victimization.

Because DOCS has interaction with social workers, they become much more familiar with the domestic violence police work, and the EPS also becomes more familiar with services that are provided by the social workers—cross-training.

Summary of the Performance Measure Data Collected:


Economics of Policing Pillars:

Further Details:

This section was developed in order to better address domestic violence and prevent further intimate partner violence.

Additional Comments or Suggestions:

Domestic violence continues to erode our social fabric. Solutions to family violence are multi-faceted. Different approaches can provide positive solutions and outcomes. While the need remains to focus on victim-based intervention and advocacy strategies, the DOCS service-delivery model enables offender-based harm-reduction strategies. As DOCS gains credibility, through positive role-modeling, the hope is that all members will be encouraged to develop behaviours that will lend to successful service-wide enhancements of domestic violence investigations.

Record Entry Date:


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