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This toolkit is designed to provide insight for practical ways to apply Community Safety Charter Principles, to aid in achieving a community that is safe and inclusive for all that live, work, and play here.

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Spence Neighbourhood Association Presents:


Community Safety: A Toolkit

Dear Community Member, 


Thank you for your interest in making our community safer and more inclusive for all members through your commitment to the Community Safety Charter.

The Safety Charter is a document created by Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA) using information gathered from the Spence community reflecting community values, visions, and perceptions of safety.

Included in this document are tools, resources, and guidelines that support the creation of safer spaces for everyone. A copy of the Community Safety Charter and one page toolkits for implementing the principles outlined in the charter, targeted to your establishment and the individuals that access it, are also included. 

We would like to encourage all community members to commit to implementing the Safety Charter principles in their places of work and individual lives. To help us in our efforts, please display the Charter and the one page toolkit in a visible area: front window, bulletin boards, your newsletters, your website. 

The aim of this toolkit is to assist individuals, businesses, and agencies to increase their capacity to respond to safety concerns, improve community wellbeing, and to be inclusive to diverse groups present within our community. We believe that through creating community relationships, improving knowledge and skills, and working towards common goals, we can create a community that is safe and inclusive for everyone. 

Thank you for collaborating with us, we look forward to working with you. 


Sincerely, 

Spence Neighbourhood Association


Introduction


History of the Community Safety Charter:

Beginning in 2015, as a response to safety concerns in the area, members of Spence neighbourhood began gathering to engage in community consultations on safety. Community members spoke of their experiences with safety, how they felt about local safety services, their definitions of safety, and their dreams and visions for what safety and wellbeing in Spence looks like.

The principles of the Safety Charter were formed based on the information and feedback gathered from the community.  These principles are reflective of what the community stands for and will act as a way for community members to individually and collectively commit to ensuring a safe neighbourhood for all that live, work, and play here. 

A group of residents lead the planning process for the Safety Charter in the form of a Community Safety Charter Advisory Committee, with support from the Community Connecting Committee. The creation of the Charter was funded by the City of Winnipeg Safety Committee.

Why create a safety charter?

Safe and inclusive communities benefit everyone. When barriers to participation are intentionally removed or reduced and an effort is made to consider and represent all members of the population, more individuals are able to access businesses, community events, and local resources. Accessing these spaces leads to local economic stimulation, relationship building, less people being excluded or underserved and ultimately a stronger community. By working towards the principles outlined in the Safety Charter, we can address gaps in services and safety, improve our sense of connectedness, and create a strong and healthy community. 

How does a Safety Charter and toolkit make our community safer?

For starters, the Safety Charter and toolkit acknowledge that everyone experiences safety differently. What might feel welcoming and safe to you might feel intimidating or threatening to someone else in the community.  Purposefully working towards implementing Safety Charter principles in our daily lives, whether that be our home, place of work, or otherwise, will create room for celebrating diversity and create a safe and inclusive environment for everybody. The principles of the Safety Charter were designed using community feedback regarding safety concerns and visions for the future, and aim to reflect the many diverse voices in our community. These principles act as goals to work towards that support the vision of safety as described by community members. This toolkit was designed to provide tangible methods for individuals, businesses, and agencies to implement these principles and make strategic changes in their daily lives. 

Why should I choose to implement these principles and practices?

Inequality does not just impact those who are oppressed, feel unsafe, unwelcome, or who live with poverty. Inequality impacts everybody and undermines social cohesion, the glue that holds societies together. Healthy and cohesive societies are ones where people are able to participate in social, political, and economic activities, trust their neighbours and institutions, and everyone has equal opportunity to get ahead in life. This allows for economic security and prosperity, safety, and protection and support in times of need. Working towards the principles in the Safety Charter means working towards a socially cohesive society. A socially cohesive society creates space for diversity, safety, good business, and effective organizations. 

Challenges in 

the Spence Neighbourhood

Demographics 

The Spence neighbourhood is home to a diverse range of people, and for this Safety Charter to be truly effective it needs to consider race, ethnicity, class, economic status, sexual orientation, age, gender and disability. Different experiences and identities are accompanied by different needs and can result in disproportionate hardships. While the Safety Charter principles do not explicitly mention these demographics, the toolkit is designed to support the Safety Charter and address different needs that arise as a result of diversity in the community.

 The following demographic statistics from 2011 help to illustrate the diversity in the Spence neighbourhood: 

- Since 2006, the population has grown almost 6%, to a total of over 4500 people.

-There are over 1595 people who have immigrated and settled in Spence neighbourhood. 

-There are more than 9 visible minority groups and languages spoken.

-There are over 1000 Indigenous and Metis people here.

Diversity and Differences

In order to appropriately implement Safety Charter principles, it is also important to understand the conscious or unconscious biases, beliefs and opinions we carry about the diversity we are surrounded by. These biases, beliefs, and opinions feed into stereotypes that can be harmful to ourselves and those around us, so it is important to challenge them regularly. Challenging our internal judgements can help us to remove the barriers that exist to creating the community envisioned by the Safety Charter. 

There is a visible presence of poverty, addiction, and homelessness in our neighbourhood. In order to improve these conditions for those experiencing and affected by these issues, the Spence community needs to be united in empathy, action, education and social change. Part of the aim of this toolkit is to create opportunities for increased cultural appreciation and diversity, as well to increase awareness about the root causes of some of the major social issues present in our community. We hope that by having a greater appreciation for diversity, a commitment to safe spaces, and greater awareness, we can work together to improve the quality of life for all community members. 

Power and Privilege

In today's society, diverse identities means varying access to power and privilege. We may be able to easily access power and privilege, or our identity may prevent us from doing so. Many of us have multiple identities that may overlap or even contradict each other, also affecting our access to power and privilege. Those who hold identities that may limit their access to power and privilege also tend to face barriers to equitably participating in society. In order for the Safety Charter principles to be truly embraced, efforts to minimize these barriers to participation must be made so that all members of the Spence community can feel included, connected, and safe. 




Understanding

Safety Charter Principles


The Safety Charter promotes a community that is inclusive, connected, maintained, street safe, and proactive. Each of these principles reflects a different component of community safety. Having an understanding of why each of these principles is important is helpful for putting them into practice. 


Inclusive

"All community members are supported and respected in being themselves. All community members can engage in work, recreation, spiritual, and cultural activities without fear or exposure to harassment or harm."

For different reasons, there are many groups and individuals that feel unable to participate fully in our community. This could be because they are physically not able to access spaces, they may feel unwelcome, or they may be afraid of being harassed or discriminated against. When community members are excluded, they may be unable to access economic opportunities such as securing employment, unable to access social services such as adequate health care, unable to openly practice their religion of choice, or unable to create relationships with other community members. Exclusion creates barriers and barriers contribute to the maintenance societal inequality and inequality undermines community safety.

An inclusive community has many benefits. It allows for the active engagement of all community members, allowing more people to contribute socially, economically, and politically. It reduces situations of isolation and can improve mental and physical wellbeing for all. 


Connected

"All community members have opportunities to be involved in events and activities to get to know other members of the community, and build networks of safety and support."

Building relationships with those who live around us is crucial for creating a sense of safety, support, and community. Relationships can be built formally, through business or service interactions, or informally through social events like participating in workshops or attending a festival. These connections can help dismantle stereotypes, remove stigmas, and create a positive environment for diversity to thrive. It also allows for individuals to contribute their ideas for community revitalization, improved services, and the arts. 

Connected communities are often strong communities. In situations of hardship, connected communities are better able to come together and overcome the challenges that life may bring. They are better able to respond to local needs as communities evolve and grow. Members of connected neighbourhoods are more likely to come together to work towards common goals. Additionally, connected communities create spaces for people to get together, enjoy the neighbourhood and have fun!

A community where people feel safe, heard, and supported is a community in which everyone can be their best selves. 

Proactive

"All community members have the opportunity to create and participate in community led initiatives to respond to concerns and improve the safety of the community"

Being a proactive community member enables people to be part of a solution to concerns, rather than bystanders. Knowing that you've actively worked to improve the quality and stability in the place in which you live, work, or play is empowering, and often community-led initiatives are very effective at achieving results. Those who are most affected by community safety concerns (community members) are often those who are best equipped to respond to the concerns, or at least lead a response. Creating a community which empowers its residents to be proactive in a variety of ways can be key to long-term stability and community health. 

Maintained

"All community members have access to information and support to help maintain their properties and keep the neighbourhood as clean and physically safe as possible."

The environment in which we spend our time plays a large role in our heath and wellness. A healthy, safe, and clean environment can encourage us to get out, engage with our neighbours, participate in events and exercise. A clean neighbourhood fosters a sense of social pride, helps to reduce crime, and is a crucial component of a strong and thriving community. 

When our environment is poorly looked after, it affects us directly. Garbage and litter are unsanitary and unsightly, poorly maintained properties can create safety hazards and encourage criminal behaviour; all of which deters residents from engaging in the community. When individuals avoid a specific neighbourhood, the local economy suffers, community pride suffers, the strength and integrity of the community is affected, and social cohesion is undermined. 





Street Safe

"All community members are able to move about the neighbourhood without fear or exposure to harassment, violence, or crime."

Many residents in the Spence neighbourhood are concerned about the criminal activity that is sometimes apparent here. In a community so diverse it becomes easy to see and feel the consequences of systemic oppression, racism, and poverty. Often times, these social injustices lead to criminal activity for a variety of reasons. Other times, we witness crime and tragedy simply as a result of intolerance, hate, and discrimination. Either way, there are many angles to look at this from but it is always important to consider the root causes of crime and the vulnerable populations that are most affected.  

Working towards a community in which diversity is celebrated, discrimination is not tolerated, and those experiencing hardship are supported compassionately is directly contributes to creating a neighbourhood where the streets are safe. People would not have to fight to gain power, as power dynamics would become less polarized, crimes of poverty would be reduced because even those experiencing poverty would be able to find adequate support, and diverse identities would find respect and peace here. 



Being Inclusive

There are many ways to become a more inclusive individual, business, or group. Being inclusive is not simply about being "nice", although that is important. True inclusiveness goes beyond being welcoming and nice; it acknowledges barriers to inclusion, recognizes exclusive practices and actively works to resolve these issues. 

Becoming more inclusive first requires us to understand and challenge what internal biases, stereotypes and opinions we may have, and how those are manifested in our daily behaviours and actions. Understanding these preconceived notions, challenging them and educating ourselves with facts rather than relying on societal pressures and norms to inform our worldview is a key component to becoming more inclusive. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for becoming a more inclusive person, business, or organization but in all scenarios being more inclusive requires an intentional, thoughtful and ongoing process. This toolkit is intended to act as a guideline to facilitate that process. 

#1 - Education: Understanding and Acknowledging Barriers to Inclusion

Winnipeg is home to an impressive amount of diversity. Many Winnipeg residents view this as a gift, while others may view it as a burden due to the complexity that diversity brings. However, diversity is inevitable; it is a reality and we believe that it is something to be celebrated and appreciated. To become more inclusive, we must make learning about the histories, socioeconomic circumstances, and systematic factors at play within these diverse identities a priority. It is this type of learning that can lead to gaining insight on the barriers that diverse identities face to inclusion and how we can overcome these barriers as a community. 

Knowing where to access educational resources, and what to begin learning more about can be intimidating! Laid out in this section are resources and topics to consider accessing and learning more about. 

Indigenous 

-Indigenous rights

>>>>>>communities established well before european contact, supporting revitalization, land rights, etc

-Residential Schools, Colonialism

>>>>>>provide brief statistic overview, resources to learn more, intergenerational trauma

-TRC

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a set of 94 recommendations for how to improve the situations faced by many of the Indigenous peoples here. 

-libraries, panels, info sessions, public workshops



Putting Principles 

to Practice


Understanding the Safety Charter principles and being familiar with them is important, but it is also important to have tangible ways to put these principles into practice. This next section is intended to provide you with methods that you can use to create strategic change in your everyday life. The methods outlined here are not meant to be an exhaustive list, and are not suitable for all situations. We encourage you to consider this toolkit as a starting point, to look beyond it, think critically about the context in which you wish to apply them, and seek out further assistance if needed. 

-acknowledge that some may find accessing resources/info and implementing charter principles extensively to be more difficult due to time/$ constraints. 

Immigrants, Newcomers and Refugees

-myth busting, fighting hate, same public ed resources

Visble Minorities

LGBT2Q*

-intersectionality, trans, gender fluidity, discrimination, etc

Disabilities

barriers to access and participation, making places accessible, valuing abilities and building capacity

Experiences of Poverty

-different identities - different experiences - listen to others in the community, their opinions may be different but they are valid 

#2 - Self Check: What might i be doing that others find exclusive?

-privilege

-who's voices are typically heard/or not?

- language matters 

#3 - Action: Dismantling barriers to inclusion