The executive director of Battered Women's Support Services, Angela Marie MacDougall, says she has seen improvement in how Vancouver police deal with violent crime against women.
"The Vancouver Police Department, in every way, has a responsibility to put violence against women front and centre," MacDougall told the Straight during an interview before the Vancouver SlutWalk march. "And I have to tell you that through some of the initiatives and some of the actions that we've taken—including occupying the police department on October 4, 2010—we are seeing that they are making steps that are more than just words. That they really are doing some behavioural things."
Angela Marie MacDougall talks about SlutWalk Vancouver and the police response to violence against women.
However, MacDougall said that she and her colleagues must remain vigilant to ensure that this progress of maintained. "Those roots of law enforcement's lack of response to violence against women—those roots are deep," she added.
In the past, MacDougall has been an outspoken critic of the VPD's response to women who went missing in the Downtown Eastside—as well as the amount of time it took to arrest serial killer Robert William Pickton.
"We saw the Vancouver Police Department and the RCMP—for that matter Crown counsel—really drop the ball," MacDougall said.
She acknowledged that she was heartbroken and felt devastated after reading VPD deputy chief Doug LePard's report last year into the Pickton investigation, because it demonstrated to her that 14 women are dead because of "inaction".
"There has to be some accountability," MacDougall stated. "That report stays with me every single day."
She described violence against women as the "most pressing social issue of our time".
And with SlutWalk Vancouver, she said, "We're saying no—no more to victim blaming and no more to sex shaming. It's a new day."
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