The Lethbridge Domestic Violence Action Team (DVAT) is a collaborative effort of partnering agencies in Lethbridge for sharing information and addressing topical issues to ensure a consistent response to domestic violence in our community. The partner agencies include:
To share information, raise public awareness of the community impacts of domestic violence, address partner-specific concerns, arrange training opportunities, collect and assess domestic violence court data and obtain information on domestic violence crime rates.
Criminal Investigation Division and Domestic Crimes Unit
DVAT is both consultative and cooperative. The committee ensures that partner agencies meet their obligations in following the domestic violence protocols and that victims are provided the best service possible.
The initiative was undertaken in 1995 in response to new 1991 provincial protocols regarding domestic violence investigations and prosecutions and to ensure that support to victims and families is provided by partner agencies.
There were no material costs to establishing DVAT. Police commitment involved providing a meeting room and support staff to take and maintain minutes of meetings. A full-time coordinator position was subsequently established, which is funded through yearly provincial grants. The approximate time commitment from the police service for committee work is 16-18 hours per month.
By establishment of the committee.
DVAT has evolved from a focus primarily on the criminal aspects of domestic violence, to a more holistic approach, where all stakeholders recognize the importance of addressing each facet of domestic violence, regardless of whether it is their agency’s primary role. DVAT has been instrumental in bringing awareness of domestic violence to the community of Lethbridge, for example, through the development of a video with a member of Major Crimes unit to help educate the public on the police role with respect to domestic violence. The video will be posted on the DVAT webiste, along with a video being produced by the Crown Prosector’s Office.When first established, the agencies came together to ensure that the provincial protocols regarding the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence were followed and that support of the victim and families was provided by partner agencies. Today, the protocols are firmly established and followed. Minor modifications or adjustments are made in process as issues are identified.
DVAT maintains a website (www.dvat.ca). DVAT is currently developing a more robust public communications strategy.
Through DVAT, training has been provided to frontline staff.