The number one priority of Shelter Movers Southwestern Ontario (SMSWO) is keeping our volunteers and clients safe on moves. SMSWO conducts three types of moves: low, medium, and high-risk. To ensure everyone’s safety, our chapter enlists the help of either security or police services during medium and high-risk moves. Security or police are always present on moves if any of the locations are known to the abuser(s).
SMSWO currently has partnerships in place with four different security firms, three of which provide their services free of charge to our chapter:
Vigilant Security Services is the primary provider of security for SMSWO, and their firm was one our very first local partners in Waterloo Region.
A.S.P. Security Services mainly provide security for the Shelter Movers Greater Toronto chapter, but when their services are needed, they are always happy to lend a hand.
Additionally, our chapter currently has an agreement in place with the Intimate Partner Violence Unit of the Waterloo Regional Police Service to support our moves when police presence is required.
Using security versus police services
We determine both the risk level of a move and the type of service required based on a few factors that we collect during our intake process and confirm during the move coordination process.
We determine risk level based on information we gather during the intake process with our referral agencies and confirm with our clients during move coordination. If any of the following circumstances, police must be present on a move:
- If charges related to abuse have been laid or are pending
- If a no-contact or restraining order is in place
- If there is a known history of excessive violence
- Known or suspected presence of firearms or ties to organized crime
In all other situations where there is any possibility the abuser may be present during a move, we will arrange a security guard escort.
Prior to our medium and high-risk moves, the move team, client, and police or security meet at a predetermined site, which is usually a couple of minutes away from the move location. This is done to ensure that our volunteers and the client are not at the move location without the necessary protection required to keep them safe.
We would like to thank our partners that generously offer their services to ensure the safety of our volunteers and clients on moves. Their support of Shelter Movers has made a huge impact on the lives of many survivors.
Interested in partnering with Shelter Movers Southwestern Ontario or supporting our cause? Please visit our webpage for more information on how you can help survivors of gender-based violence.