A clock made of old wood, some contemporary Indigenous art and a tablecloth you’d find in your great aunt’s kitchen.
The Oak Bay Police are doing the best they can to soften the atmosphere of their interview room for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Obviously, the temporary inclusion of an acrylic sneeze-guard on the table is a sign of the times. Yet, so is the redecoration of a bare-bones interview room, the kind seen on television, into something that resembles a home office.
“I’m very happy with this, with what we have been able to do. It’s much better [than what was here]. You walk in and it’s a soft room [compared to before],” said Sgt. Sandrine Perry, who is behind the room’s makeover.
The movement to make interview rooms more comfortable is called TIP, or trauma-informed practice.
Every month Perry represents Oak Bay Police on Team Victoria to talk about best practices on handling sexual assault cases with representative members of local police detachments and the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. TIP rooms are becoming common, especially among the bigger police detachments.
Due to privacy issues, cases of sex assault and domestic assault aren’t released to the media and are sometimes forgotten.
And in a small town like Oak Bay, privacy is valued.
“It’s a sad reality that it exists, and part of policing is helping the victims feel safe to tell their story,” Perry said.
Last year Perry got a chance to not only visit Saanich Police’s TIP room but also use it to interview a survivor filing a case.
Already, the Oak Bay room has been used for domestic assault victims.
“It’s obviously very brave of survivors to come forward and tell their story, you want to make it as safe and welcoming a place as possible,” Perry said.
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