Prompted by the Halifax Regional Police’s violent arrests of women and children in winter 2020, Women’s Wellness Within members and partners collaborated to develop Calls for Change. We call for HRP to respond through public engagement and policy change.
- Hold the officers who assaulted Santina Rao accountable. A root cause analysis that considers misogyny and racism must be completed into the officers’ actions against her.
- Apply a gender lens to arrest. Anticipate mothers will be panicked to be separated from their children and do not interpret resistance as anything other than predictable, protective maternal response.
- Do not arrest mothers in front of their children.
- Allow mothers to arrange for the childcare of their children before they are brought to lock up (See United Nations Bangkok Rule #2: https://cdn.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/BangkokRules-Updated-2016-with-renumbering-SMR.pdf).
- Never hold a breastfeeding mother, a pregnant person or a lone parent in lock up.
- Never charge a person with violation of bail if they are the victim in a domestic violence situation (e.g. have been using substances prohibited as terms of bail).
- Always seek medical attention for anyone who appears impaired. Police are not able to make the differential diagnoses for alcoholic intoxication versus other conditions, and deaths have resulted.
- Always ask individuals subject to arrest if they are currently taking medications and ensure they have access to those medications immediately.
- All HRP staff are to receive training in the principles of trauma-informed response that demonstrates understanding on what trauma looks like for all citizens, especially for those who experience misogyny and racism: women, trans and nonbinary people and Black, Indigenous and people of colour.
- All officers are to utilize conflict de-escalation techniques as the primary response to all calls that do not involve direct, intentional physical violence prior to police arrival. All officers are to receive training in conflict de-escalation.
PO Box 34007 Scotia Square
Halifax, NS B3J 3S1