By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is spending $2.1 million on a new child abuse investigative unit.
Premier Heather Stefanson says the provincewide, integrated child response unit will build on services offered by the Toba Centre for Children and Youth in collaboration with the Winnipeg Police Service and RCMP.
Stefanson says the money is part of her government’s pledge of $52 million for crime-fighting measures in its budget earlier this month.
Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen says Manitoba has seen an increase in child abuse and exploitation in the last five years.
The money is also aimed at helping victims and families find the supports they need after a crime.
Toba Centre opened in 2013 and has qualified forensic interviewers to help children who have been abused, and the new unit will be housed there.
“Having wraparound child-centred care is critical for the health, healing and well-being of children and families involved in these tragic and traumatic circumstances,” Stefanson said when announcing the funding Sunday at the Toba Centre’s new location, which is still under construction.
“And having dedicated and integrated police resources will help to make this model available to children across the province.”
The funding is the latest in a series of anti-crime announcements by the Progressive Conservative government in advance of an election scheduled for Oct. 3.
“With our violent crime strategy, we are creating a balanced approach to creating safer streets,” Goertzen said in a news release Sunday.
“We are addressing the root causes of crime with more funding for homelessness and overnight shelters, while cracking down on violent criminals and repeat offenders.”