A new manual is now available to help guide Fort St. John families and residents in the event a loved one goes missing.
The community safety manual was developed in response to the numbers of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in the area, and through a partnership between the Fort St. John Women's Resource Society, aboriginal community liaison Connie Greyeyes, and the Law Foundation of BC, which supported the project with grant funding.
Response times are critical when someone is believed to have gone missing—from identifying whether the person is actually missing, to finding evidence and witnesses when it's determined they are.
"It was important to help create a guideline for community members to follow so that a thorough process happens in the event a loved one goes missing," Greyeyes said.
"After years of working with families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, I understand the importance of keeping track of all information that may be needed."
The manual was developed over the last 18 months, and information sessions were held in communities across northern B.C. over the last year to help inform its content. The manual includes information about how to file a missing person report, including a template, a list of key social services contacts, a communications log, and other information to guide families through the crisis.
The manuals have been made available to Treaty 8 First Nations in Northeast B.C.
They're also available to the public at the Women's Resource Centre, or by emailing Greyeyes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"It is hugely important for families who are experiencing the trauma of trying to locate a missing loved one, to feel supported, the manual was created to help family’s navigate through those difficult times," Greyeyes said.
"I encourage any community members to reach out if you would like a digital copy of this manual."
Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at email@example.com.