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New registry focuses on making vulnerable people safer

Vulnerable Persons Registry helps police better understand situation and needs of the physically or mentally vulnerable
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A new registry is aimed at making it easier and more effective for police responding to situations that include vulnerable people.

A Vulnerable Persons Registry has been established in Guelph that allows caregivers of vulnerable people, and the people themselves, to register their information on a registry that police would have access too.

Registration is completely voluntary.

Laura Hanley, Executive Director of Guelph-Wellington Community Living, said the registry is for anyone with a vulnerability.

"It's anybody with a vulnerability, whether it be a physical one or a mental health one: anybody who might be vulnerable in emergency situations," Hanley said.

The purpose it to help police understand how best to assist the registered person and any complications they might expect because of the person's condition.

It can also potentially help make a situation safer for police.

"The reality of it is, if there is never an issue, if you are never in crisis or lost or in a vulnerable situation, your information will never be accessed," Hanley said.

People with dementia, cerebral palsy, brain injuries and autism are just a few examples for those it could be of benefit to.

The model follows a registry started in Waterloo Region, where 150 people signed up. Hanley expects this one will get more people signed up.

The registry is private and only police dispatchers can access it.

"The police are already talking with the OPP, trying to expand it into rural communities," Hanley said.

It is a community-based initiative between the Guelph Police Service, Guelph-Wellington Community Living and several other local community partners.

It's intent is to assist officers when responding to an emergency involving the vulnerable individual.

The registry gives police quick access to critical information about a registered person, such as who to call in an emergency, a detailed physical description, and any particular sensitivities that the person may experience.

Information can be changed at any time and a person or caregiver can remove a name from the registry at any time.

"You can be on there forever, but sometimes people have mental health issues that are episodic or periodic, so a person can come on and off the registry as they need to," Hanley said.

The person or caregiver would be responsible for doing that.

For more information on the Vulnerable Persons Registry go to


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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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