The cold, uninviting interview rooms in a police station are no place for victims of violence, so Weipa Police have created a safe environment for vulnerable people to begin their healing journey.
With support from the Weipa community, they have transformed an underutilised office space at the station into a victim-centric statement and interview room, with comfort and safety at the forefront of its design.
“Our team aimed to provide victims of crime with a comfortable room that made them feel physically and emotionally safe, so this was considered when planning every detail of the design and functionality of the space,” Senior Constable Sandy Gardiner said.
The room is named ‘Bunum Birrumom’ in the Weipa area’s Aboriginal language, Alngith, which translates to ‘our healing place’.
“We are very proud of our new soft interview room,” she said.
“It’s fully furnished with comfortable seating and cushions, and is equipped with toys, books, local art and sensory aids to support survivors and those fleeing domestic and family violence to feel safe.”
Senior Constable Gardiner, along with Senior Constable Megan Carroll, Police Liasion Officer Fritz Loban and Weipa Police Officer in Charge Senior Sergeant Warren Flegg, researched best practices relating to trauma-informed care, resulting in the soft interview room.
“Our aim is to ensure those vulnerable people feel comfortable and allow us to support them to get the help they need,” Senior Sergeant Flegg said.
He highlighted that the project was a whole community effort. Weipa Community Care Associations donated funding for furniture, books and toys, while local businesses met transportation costs for furnishings, and students from the Western Cape College created artwork for the room.
“Local police and our partners should be congratulated for creating this much-needed healing room for our vulnerable members of the community,” he said.
“In the past two months, this space has highlighted our emphasis on a stronger victim-centric approach to domestic and family violence, which is also supported by the many positive comments from clients, local stakeholders and our officers using the room.”