Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Government Pours Proceeds of Crime into Fighting Domestic Violence

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

B.C. Government Pours Proceeds of Crime into Fighting Domestic Violence

Article excerpt

B.C. pours money into fighting domestic violence

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SURREY, B.C. - Premier Christy Clark is upgrading her government's strategy for ending domestic violence in B.C., with a central role being played by police, even as she divests herself from decisions made by the RCMP on a closely-related issue.

Clark distanced herself on Friday from the RCMP decision to scale back the task force that investigates missing and murdered women along the so-called Highway of Tears.

Six officers were cut from project E-PANA last year, despite warnings to government from top brass the move would impair their ability to conduct historical homicide investigations.

"I don't intend to play a role in directing the RCMP about how they're going to deploy what are increased resources," she told reporters gathered at the main detachment of Surrey RCMP.

The premier said she didn't want to be critical of the force, but that the province boosted the RCMP's overall budget by $5 million last year.

"So they'll make their decisions and we'll make ours," she said. "And on our list is making sure we deliver on all the recommendations that were made by Justice Oppal's Commission."

Former B.C. Court of Appeal justice Wally Oppal led an extensive public inquiry into murdered and missing women in the province, mainly focused on serial killer Robert Pickton.

Clark referred to completing the report's recommendations as she unveiled the "Violence Free B.C." plan.

She said the province intends to take another step along a path to societal change, starting by diverting money from "the bad guys" to their victims.

The province will use $3 million in civil forfeiture funds this year to pay for a new Domestic Violence Unit in Surrey, B.C. -- the sixth of its kind to open in the province.

The money will also be used for local support services and an awareness campaign. The funds are intended to be rolled over each year. …

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