Prince Rupert is the first community in Canada to have a RCMP-led Safe Place program to help people facing anti-LGBTQ discrimination or hate crimes.
The Safe Place initiative is a voluntary program in which businesses, schools or other institutions can participate. Since the RCMP launched the program last week, Corporal Devon Gerrits said approximately 25-30 businesses have signed up.
“It was made to increase safety by providing a safe place for them or a place of refuge,” Gerrits said.
Christine Danroth, a teacher in School District 52, alongside RCMP Const. Kayla Radford both worked to bring this program to life.
“It is important to have the support. Not just from the RCMP but the community as well,” Danroth said.
“Christine developed ties with the police officer after she saw it in Vancouver about a year ago,” Gerrits said.
Members of the program, including the Northern View office, identify the safe space to the public by placing a rainbow-coloured decal in their window.
Participants must sign a pledge, stating that they will allow the LGBTQ individual to remain at their place until police officers arrive.
The RCMP is encouraging establishments to sign up and take part in the initiative.