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News Room – Inside the Winnipeg Police Service


Chief Clunis greets students taking part in Winnipeg Youth Matter Conference


Youth Matter Conference Aims To Get Young People Thinking About Their Safety in the Community and Online

The Winnipeg Police Service Missing Persons Unit (MPU) wants Winnipeg’s youth to know they matter.

The team work all manner of missing persons investigations involving people of any age. Many of these cases involve young people who, for one reason or another, could find themselves in harms way.

While MPU remains as committed as ever to get each of the 45-60 missing kids reported each day safely home, the Unit wanted to do something proactive to perhaps arm some students with information about some of the real dangers out there and the steps they can do avoid them and/or report them.

With that Winnipeg’s first #WPGYouthMatter Conference was created.

"Many of the people reported missing to us are under 18 years of age,” explains Det-Sgt. Shaunna Neufeld. “For a great deal of these youth, they have various issues going on in their lives such as addiction, mental health and past trauma. When on the run, these children often are at risk of being exploited by others.

“We saw this as a chance to do something proactive instead of reactive. It’s an opportunity to share some important messages with young people while allowing them to have a little fun at the same time.”

Held November 19th at Springs Church, 301 students from 30 schools across Winnipeg took part in the event.

Emcee’d by the very personal Ace Burpee, Chrissy and Lloyd from 103.1 Virgin radio, the day’s line-up packed a powerful punch.

Here’s a breakdown of some the day’s presentations:

Leah Parsons is the mother of Rehtaeh Parsons. She spoke of her daughter Rehtaeh’s death which has been attributed to online distribution of photos and bullying-related issues following a traumatic incident.

  • Leah Parsons is the mother of Rehtaeh Parsons. She spoke of her daughter Rehtaeh’s death which has been attributed to online distribution of photos and bullying-related issues following a traumatic incident. She shared with students her daughter’s story and the related dangers of social media. Leah spoke about the general issues of being a teen and how fragile this time frame can be in a young person’s development. She also shared an eloquent message about how hope, resilience and community involvement can create a united front to help those who find themselves struggling.

Watch Leah Parsons' Presentation:



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Former NHL’er Sheldon Kennedy talked about his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey league coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered over a five-year period while a teenager under his care.

  • Former NHL’er Sheldon Kennedy talked about his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey league coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered over a five-year period while a teenager under his care. Through this disclosure, and the important work that Sheldon continues to do, he has become an inspiration to millions of abuse survivors around the world.  Sheldon has been instrumental in bringing governments, public and private sector partners together to work collaboratively to influence policy change and improve the way child abuse is handled.

    Sheldon is the Lead Director at the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, the first-of-its-kind in Canada, offering full wrap-around services for victims of child abuse. He is also the Co-Founder of Respect Group Inc., which provides empowering online abuse, bullying and harassment prevention education to sport organizations, schools and the workplace.

  • Sergeant Darren Oleksiuk is a 17-year member of the Winnipeg Police Service and Supervisor of the Child Abuse and Internet Child Exploitation units. He aimed to open some eyes by sharing some of his vast knowledge of role the Internet and social media can and does play in leading to people being exploited and victimized. 

  • Heather Woodward  is a research social worker, currently working out of the Health Science Centre and University of Manitoba.  She presented on the addiction issues seen in the emergency department and recent trends with a very real focus on the more dangerous addictive substances. 

  • Brian and Cynthia Boyd, current serving WPS members and participants in this summer’s Amazing Race Canada event, shared their story through a presentation about taking risks.

  • For a change of pace, illusionist Brian Trudeau shared his I’m Thinking What You're Am Thinking show with the conference. 

The event was made possible through the generosity of our community partners at Manitoba Justice, The Winnipeg Foundation, MTS and True North Sports & Entertainment.

About the Missing Persons Unit

The Winnipeg Police Service established a Missing Persons Unit in 1974 to investigate reports and locate missing persons. Currently, the Missing Persons Unit investigates more than 5,000 cases each year. The majority of missing persons are located within three days; most are located within 24 hours of being reported missing.
Missing persons cases include:

  • runaway youths
  • voluntarily missing adults
  • wanderers/Alzheimer patients
  • parental abductions where there is immediate danger to the child
  • non-family abductions
  • unknown circumstances
  • unusual/suspicious circumstances

The Missing Persons Unit also handles requests from other agencies to try to locate people who may be in Winnipeg.