Local RCMP Officer Recognize with Special Award

Constable Renee Brand

The Child Advocacy Centre of Kelowna (“CAC”) is pleased to share that RCMP member, Constable Renee Brand, a specialized Child Forensic Interviewer with the Child Abuse Unit embedded at the CAC has been recognized by the Federal Department of Justice for her Excellence in Victim Centered Policing as part of Victims of Crime Week, May 16 – May 20, 2022.

The CAC, a purpose-built facility responding to cases of child abuse, has been operational since Jan 2020 and houses a unique team of specialists from partnering agencies including: Police, Child Protection, Victim Services, Child Advocates, Indigenous Liaisons and Healthcare.  The embedded RCMP Child Abuse unit onsite specializes in the interviewing of child victims under the age of 10 and the investigations surrounding these interviews. “The work being done in partnership is essential to supporting our most vulnerable children in the community Regional area of Kelowna,” states Inspector Beth McAndie, Investigative Services Officer with Kelowna RCMP. “This team of specialized and dedicated resources is key to providing a modern approach to Child Advocacy in our community”.

“The wins in this work don’t always come from the criminal justice outcomes. For us the wins come from the children themselves, when we create an opportunity for them to unburden themselves, to speak their truth in an environment where they feel upheld, supported and safe, that’s a win. By doing that we create an opportunity for them to begin a journey towards wellness and healing. Constable Brand being recognized at this level is a profound testament to what this collaborative Child Advocacy Model makes possible. Through partnership and teamwork, we achieve a place where the victims really are held at the center of things. We could not be more proud of Constable Brand and the amazing work that she does to support children impacted by abuse and violence in our community.” Shared Ginny Becker, Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Centre.

The Child Advocacy Model is not a new idea, in fact there are more than forty such center’s operating across the country including eight in the province of BC.  Each center is unique and operates uniquely but collectively they are the emerging best practice in child centric, trauma informed care of children impacted by abuse and neglect. The centers coordinate highly specialized multi-disciplinary teams that investigate complex cases of child abuse and provide holistic wrap around services to children and their non offending families members impacted by these crimes.

“There has been a significant culture change within policing since the inception of Child Advocacy Centers throughout the country, it is energizing to be a part of a collaborative team that truly focuses on a Victim Centered approach. Enforcement is no longer the soul focus for police, where an entire needs assessment and support strategy can be built and maintained in partnership with the goal being the needs of the victim as the priority.  I see the work being done within the Kelowna CAC and it inspires me to continue working with our partners to not only grow within our community but to push for change both provincially and nationally in relation to policing best practices in relation to Child Advocacy,” added Inspector McAndie.

Cst Brand was the sole recipient across Canada to be honoured in the 3rd annual instance of this award and was presented the award on May 16th, 2022 by way of a virtual ceremony.

For more information on the CAC https://www.CACKelowna.com/