B.C. leaders honoured for community safety work

mike fawnworth

Four community leaders and one community organization have been honoured for their work supporting crime prevention and community safety initiatives addressing gender-based violence, advocacy and restorative justice.

The 26th annual Community Safety and Crime Prevention Awards were held in Vancouver on Nov. 3, 2023, to celebrate the outstanding contributions the award winners have had on their communities.

"The people receiving awards today exemplify our collective power to effect positive change in the lives of those impacted by crime and violence," said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. "I congratulate each award recipient on their unwavering dedication and commitment to support and empower victims and survivors. My heartfelt thanks for everything they do to keep communities in B.C. safe."

These awards acknowledge individuals, non-profit organizations, and justice and community partners for their work advancing crime prevention, restorative justice, support for at-risk youth and other initiatives that help enhance safety and well-being in communities across British Columbia. The Community Safety and Crime Prevention Awards were presented to:

* Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director, Battered Women's Support Services, Vancouver;

* Evelyn Zellerer, founder and director, Peace of the Circle, Vancouver;

* Gary Thandi, founder and executive director, Moving Forward Family Services, Surrey;

* Debbie Klaric, program manager, police-based victim services, North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre Society, Port Hardy; and

* North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society, child and family counsellors, Vernon.

"These award recipients work as our partners in crime prevention, victim services and community safety, making a difference in the lives of British Columbians every single day," said Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. "I am so grateful for the work they do. It is their compassion, leadership and advocacy for victims and survivors across this province that lends a voice to those who need it most."

The work done by people at the community level is crucial to ensuring people get the supports and services they need, and complements the actions taken by the Province to improve public safety and support those affected by crime. The Province's Safer Communities Action Plan is building safer and stronger communities by improving co-ordination and collaboration between law enforcement, Indigenous community leaders, community service organizations, justice-system officials, health-care providers and everyone in British Columbia.