Barrie police and the local community will benefit from a provincial government initiative worth $1.5 million that will help city youth.
The Barrie Police Service's Inside Out youth prevention program will receive $100,000 from the province's Civil Remedies Grant Program, which sees cash and proceeds seized from criminals go back into fighting against crime and victimization that threaten their communities.
Barrie police organizational researcher Madison Charman says the funding will go a long way to empowering youth in the community.
“We kind of focus on four major areas within the program. We look at emotional regulation, safety and well-being, self-reflection and a sense of belonging,” Charman told BarrieToday. “What we do is a lot of interactive activities to build a lot of these skills and protective factors within youth through the school platform."
Police say the Inside Out pilot project is an evidence-based, trauma-informed, youth-focused prevention program aimed at improving student wellness, resilience, positive decision-making and safety to reduce criminal behaviour and youth victimization.
It will be rolled out in a representative sample of schools throughout Barrie.
The $100,000 coming to Barrie police will be allocated into “funding buckets,” Charman says, to help split up the money for appropriate areas for help.
Training will be provided for both Inside Out facilitators and the service as a whole. Items will be needed such as crafts and other visual learning materials.
Consultants will also be brought in for the program, including psychologists and program evaluators. The fourth thing the money will help with is the creation of an information package that will go with parents for transparency.
Funding through the Civil Remedies Grant Program comes to law-enforcement agencies and community partners for 18 projects focused on helping victims of crime and strengthening local capacity to prevent intimate partner, family, and gun and gang violence.
Attorney General Doug Downey, who is also the MPP for Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte, says the provincial government is committed to strengthening every available tool in an effort to dismantle the criminal networks that prey on communities.
“Crime should never pay and these seized funds will help communities support victims of crime and fight back to break the cycle of offending,” Downey said in a news release.
The initiatives funded this year will also be used for mobile surveillance to help fight the drug crisis in rural and remote Northern First Nations communities; support people experiencing victimization due to crime through mental-health crisis services, specialized care and support, and education and training opportunities; and provide community legal assistance to First Nations people who are hesitant to use outside legal supports.
Changes to strengthen the Civil Remedies Act passed under the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act allow personal property, such as cash or vehicles used by criminals for illegal activities, to be forfeited without a court order in cases where no interested person disputes the forfeiture.