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Five of six local murders last year tied to family violence: Police Chief

Police say family and intimate partner violence is also often tied to other violent crimes like assaults, threats, and criminal harassment
Waterloo Regional Police cruiser
CityNews file photo

The region's top cop is raising some concern over the amount of violent crime with ties to the home.

It comes as police said five of the six local murders last year were linked to family or intimate partner violence.

"When we're seeing the worst outcome, the most tragic outcome in our community, it is often taking place in the home," said WRPS Chief Mark Crowell during a recent police services board meeting.

While a potentially shocking statistic, he noted that number is also only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to overall violent crime.

"[It] actually makes up a lot of the violence in our community," Crowell said. "Assaults, threats, criminal harassment and other measures of the Crime Severity Index actually relate back to intimate partner violence and sexual violence as well."

Through 2022, regional police say they received 6,190 calls related to intimate partner violence, of which nearly one-in-three were then transferred to a specialized intimate partner violence unit.

Crowell also said those numbers, compared to 2021 (6,145), were relatively stable though "unsustainable."

"So any work that we can do as a service and as a community to disrupt, to intervene, to provide supports and avenues of options for those facing family violence and intimate partner violence are crucial investments."

Late last year, police also announced a new partnership with The Family Violence Project aimed at offering barrier-free, walk-in access for those experiencing intimate partner violence to seek support and resources.

These include things like police reporting, safety planning, family supports, access to shelter services, and counselling and are available Tuesday's from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m at Carizon on Queen St. S. in Kitchener.

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