RCMP launches safe spaces program for LGTBQ community

RCMP launches safe spaces program for LGTBQ community

Participating businesses can display a decal that promises a welcoming safe haven.

Cranbrook RCMP is launching a new program where local businesses can provide a welcoming haven for the LGTBQ community and anyone else who may feel unsafe.

The program — BC Safe Place — offers people shelter if they are feeling unsafe; where they will be welcomed, can call police and wait until officers arrive to respond to the situation.

Businesses can participate displaying a decal, which identifies it as a safe haven and ally for the LGTBQ community. Participating businesses are asked to sign a commitment that their employees will welcome and assist anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, should they require protection and need to contact police.

“The Cranbrook Detachment is excited to be a part of this great initiative,” said Cst. Katie Forgeron. “Too often, members of the LGTBQ community feel there is no safe place for them if they are being threatened or harassed. By becoming a part of this program, the community of Cranbrook is committing themselves to a more inclusive community.”

Decals for participating businesses will be provided free of charge once the commitment is signed.

According to a report by statistics Canada hate crimes against the LGTBQ community were more likely to be violent than hate crimes targeting other groups. Additionally, only a fraction of hate crimes against the LGBTQ community are reported at all, as Cst. Forgeron notes that some members are afraid their concerns will be dismissed.

Cranbrook RCMP says working towards creating more awareness and cohesion within the community can lead to a reduction in violence and send a message that it is not ok to discriminate, harass or attack people.

Any businesses wishing to be included in this program can contact Cst Katie Forgeron at 250-417-4908.