Date: June 30, 2021
Today, the Saanich Police Department is proud to announce the launching of the Safe Place Program to support all victims of hate-based crimes in our community and encourage their engagement and reporting of these incidents to the police.
This mission of the program is to increase safety for members of our 2SLGBTQ+, BIPOC, unhoused and other marginalized communities by having community partners provide a safe place for a victim of a crime, or someone with a concern for their safety, to feel welcome to call the police or wait for first responders to arrive.
The program was started by the Seattle Police Department in 2014, who partnered with community businesses to designate their facility as a “safe place” where a victim of a hate-based crime can seek refuge and support while waiting for the police to respond and assist them. Participating businesses can display a highly visible Safe Place rainbow decal at the entrance of their facility, which helps victims quickly identify a safe place to seek refuge if they are trying to escape from a dangerous situation.
“As a member of the 2SLGBTQ community I have seen the hurt that happens when ignorance and prejudice lead how someone views you or treats you,” said Cst. Eric Misener. “As such, I worked towards bringing Safe Place to Saanich so that marginalized communities are able to access Emergency Services in a caring manner.”
The Saanich Police Department consulted with community partners about the Safe Place implementation; these include the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee, the Victoria Pride Society and the Intercultural Association.
Starting today, decals will be placed at SPD Headquarters and the Community Safety Office, as well as Saanich Recreation Centres and Saanich Municipal buildings. We are looking forward to expanding the program throughout our community over the next several months.
Businesses and other community stakeholders who are interested in joining the SPD Safe Place program can visit our website www.spdsafeplace.ca or email [email protected].