Staff Sergeant awarded for efforts in domestic violence

Staff Sergeant awarded for efforts in domestic violence

Staff Sergeant awarded for efforts in domestic violence

Domestic violence is a prevalent part of the work that the local RCMP do and Staff Sgt. Darren Rennie is on board to make sure that his team is on the front line of education and prevention in this area.

Rennie was recognized for excellence for his role in the “End the Silence on Domestic Violence” event held on June 9, 2016 within the First Nations communities in the Agassiz area.

He was also awarded a Challenge Coin, which he proudly showed The Observer. The coin is a prized possession within RCMP circles, a specific item that can be used to challenge other officers with.

“It’s a traditional coin with a long history,” said Rennie. “If you go to a pub and you pull out your Challenge Coin and someone doesn’t have theirs, you have to pay.”

In the fall of 2015, Rennie identified the need for an awareness event titled “End the Silence on Domestic Violence” within the Aboriginal communities in the Agassiz CPO jurisdictional area. He reached out to support agencies to organize the event as well as to gain support from the local First Nations communities.

“I wanted to bring in counsellors and experts and I wanted them presenting to the families that were being affected by domestic violence, as opposed to a room full of professionals,” he said. “We had breakout rooms nearby should somebody decide they wanted to report an incident of violence in their family, or another family — the avenues were set up so that was possible.”

The event featured presentations from police, Crown counsel and Victims Services. The Sts’ ailes community presented on the topic of the Seven Laws and the day ended with a presentation from Warriors Against Violence who spoke out on their personal experiences with domestic violence, giving attendees a unique perspective on the cycle of abuse from the eyes of both the offender and the victim.

“We focused on having aboriginal speakers, the keynote speakers were a couple from Warriors Against Violence,” said Rennie. “They were very effective because they were once heavily involved in an abusive relationship. They are a husband and wife team and are doing a lot of great work in the community.”

There were over 60 members of the community present.

“It was very informal and we wanted people to be able to come up and ask questions and have the speaker be able to answer to that, and if Victims Services couldn’t answer a question then we would redirect the question, and we were able to assist in answering the questions. A big part of it was to handle any new complaints or information about domestic violence,” said Rennie.

The event provided an opportunity for the community to have a peek at the services available to them.

“There’s only so much the police can do, and a lot of that is enforcement, on the flipside of it, we try to hold these forums that are educating people,” he said.

There’s two ways of looking at rates of domestic violence according to Rennie.

“If they’re going up, is it because there’s more incidents of domestic violence in the community, or is it a result of education where people are now reporting? It’s a tough one to figure out, but the more people are educated and calling the police, the more we have avenues, where there’s evidence that a family needs help, if that’s the case, then partner agencies can be notified that this family needs care.”