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The gold standard

Published: March 6, 2023

In 1997, a partnership between the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and FSGV was formed. Created shortly after our very own Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT) in New West, it’s a unique partnership that has become the gold standard for this area of work with other agencies around the world looking to it as a blueprint.

Embedded at VPD are several FSGV Victim Support Workers (VSW). The detectives and VSWs work in partnership on cases. Sgt. Heather Partridge from VPD describes it as splitting things between “the cop stuff” and “the support stuff.”

What this really means is that, by working together, we can take into account all the complexities of a client’s experience. We provide support at every level.

The clients our VSWs see have the highest risk cases; we’re meeting them during what might be the worst moments of their life. They are “assigned a detective… and then [they’re] also provided with a support worker,” explains Sgt. Partridge. “It’s a sense of relief for them. Because now they know they’ve got a little bit of a team.” Right when someone needs it most, we get to be the people in their corner.

There are other benefits to providing service in this way. “I think what [the partnership] has added is a large trust factor,” says Sgt. Partridge. “It makes clients feel validated and not so scared to report or continue with the process. It’s really daunting and the support worker is able to just bite it off, step by step, and walk with the client through it.”

This partnership also ensures our clients have the support they need from the very beginning, at a time when asking for help might feel untenable. Nobody should have to go through painful situations alone, and this partnership ensures our clients don’t have to.

By working together, we can take into account all the complexities of a client’s experience. Nobody should have to go through painful situations alone and this partnership ensures our clients don’t have to.

This time spent working so closely together leaves a significant impact on everyone involved. Sgt. Partridge recalls a client from years ago who reaches out periodically just to keep her support team updated. Having compassionate, dedicated people in this person’s corner left such an impression that, even so many years later, she chooses to stay in touch.

Talking with Sgt. Partridge, it’s clear how seriously and passionately she and the detectives at VPD approach their work. It’s difficult work that comes with personal sacrifices and a lot of tough days on the job, but it’s the kind of work that changes and saves lives. It’s the kind of work and gold level standards that FSGV takes on across its spectrum of services – of which this partnership is just one amazing example.