Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth PHOTO BY KEVIN KING /Kevin King/Winnipeg Sun
By Dave Baxter, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) say they have now created and filled a new and permanent position within the force, with the goal of working with and working to assist families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
In a Wednesday press release, WPS announced they have hired Angie Tuesday to work in the role of Family Support and Resource Advocate, to support the families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Angie has worked as a victim services worker with Manitoba Justice Victim Services for the past nine years, according to WPS, and has played a role in supporting people who have experienced domestic violence and other types of violent crime.
According to the WPS, plans for the new position have been in the works since December of 2020 when Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth informed the Winnipeg Police Board that the service would be creating a position to assist families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
“Angie will play an important role within the Winnipeg Police Service,” Smyth said in a Wednesday statement. “She brings a broad range of experience in working with families in distress, and will help us shape our response in a critical area to support loved ones when they need it most.”
Smyth said that Angie will work with families to answer questions, coordinate access to agencies and services, and connect families to culturally-safe and appropriate resources in the community.
Angie will also work with investigators in the WPS Missing Persons, Counter Exploitation, Homicide, and Historical Homicide Units.
“So many Indigenous people fall victim to violence each year,” Angie said in a statement. “Often, families are unsure what supports are available to them and it is difficult to navigate the legal system, especially when we have experienced trauma.
“In my new role, I will build upon my personal and professional experiences of supporting families of Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls to create a culturally-safe and trauma-informed space for families to ask questions, address their concerns, and receive information about their loved one’s death or disappearance.”
In an email sent to the Winnipeg Sun, Shannon Hoskie, the executive director of Manitoba Moon Voices, (MMV) a Winnipeg-based organization that works to assist and empower Indigenous women, said that MMV is “cautiously optimistic” that the new position will make a difference for Indigenous families who have lost loved ones.
“The relationship between the Indigenous community and the Winnipeg Police Service has not always been a good one,” Hoskie said. “However Manitoba Moon Voices is cautiously optimistic about this announcement.
“It seems like the WPS is attempting to engage in reconciliation and address one of the many Calls to Justice from the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“It is a step in the right direction, but it is just one step among many that are needed to address the trust gap that exists.”
This item is reprinted with permission from Winnipeg Sun. See article HERE.
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