The Chief’s Gala saw over 850 people join together to help victims of crime and sudden tragedy.
Chief Mark Saunders hosted the ninth annual event in support of Victim Services Toronto.
In a night of great spectacle, including an aerial silks performance and an original artwork painted on canvas in a matter of minutes while singers performed, it was the story of a victim that drew everyone’s attention.
A woman whose daughter was sexually assaulted told her story. Her daughter was drugged by strangers at a nightclub and left in a parking lot to be discovered by passers-by.
“When my daughter contacted the Toronto Police, the officers who took her to Women’s College Hospital for a rape kit treated her with such compassion. The two detectives who conducted the difficult interview ensured it was handled with complete sensitivity. Thank you, to the officers and detectives involved, for treating my daughter as if she were your own,” said the woman.
“Unfortunately, the criminals that that raped my daughter have not been apprehended. The case remains open and we remain hopeful. Due to these circumstances and the aftermath of the rape, my daughter started to show physical and psychological signs of distress. If it hadn’t been for the crucial intervention and support received from Victim Services Toronto, the road to recovery would not have been possible.”
In 2015, over $260,000 was raised for the social service agency that relies on fundraising to deliver its services.
This is now the ninth year that a Toronto Police Chief has lent his support to the multi-service organization that also operates case-management programs focused on domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking; restores, rebuilds and enhances victims quality of life; provides programs that educate and prevent re-victimization; conducts community education; supports individual, family and community initiatives and operates closely with the TPS.
Former Chief Bill Blair, who started the event when he took the top job, and is now an MP, was in the audience.
Mayor John Tory, Toronto Police Services Board Chair Andy Pringle were honoured guests at the event emceed by Toronto's Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat and CTV News Anchor Ken Shaw.
Joseph Mancinelli, International Vice President and Regional Manager for Central and Eastern Canada of the Laborers' International Union of North America; Jeremy Diamond and Sandra Zisckind, of Diamond and Diamond Personal Injury Lawyers and Paul Khawaja, President of OnX Canada, all spoke at the event they sponsored.
Jonathan Maier, Chair of the Victim Services Board, who will be stepping down from the board, was thanked for his service by Chief Saunders as well as Gala co-chair Paula Silver.
Brian Moniz, of Parking Enforcement, is also Gala co-chair.