B.C. leaders honoured for community safety work

Press Release

Nov. 3, 2023

VANCOUVER – Four community leaders and one community organization have been honoured for their work supporting crime prevention and community safety initiatives addressing gender-based violence, advocacy and restorative justice.

The 26th annual Community Safety and Crime Prevention Awards were held in Vancouver on Nov. 3, 2023, to celebrate the outstanding contributions the award winners have had on their communities.

“The people receiving awards today exemplify our collective power to effect positive change in the lives of those impacted by crime and violence,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “I congratulate each award recipient on their unwavering dedication and commitment to support and empower victims and survivors. My heartfelt thanks for everything they do to keep communities in B.C. safe.”

These awards acknowledge individuals, non-profit organizations, and justice and community partners for their work advancing crime prevention, restorative justice, support for at-risk youth and other initiatives that help enhance safety and well-being in communities across British Columbia. The Community Safety and Crime Prevention Awards were presented to:

  • Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director, Battered Women’s Support Services, Vancouver;
  • Evelyn Zellerer, founder and director, Peace of the Circle, Vancouver;
  • Gary Thandi, founder and executive director, Moving Forward Family Services, Surrey;
  • Debbie Klaric, program manager, police-based victim services, North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre Society, Port Hardy; and
  • North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society, child and family counsellors, Vernon.

“These award recipients work as our partners in crime prevention, victim services and community safety, making a difference in the lives of British Columbians every single day,” said Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “I am so grateful for the work they do. It is their compassion, leadership and advocacy for victims and survivors across this province that lends a voice to those who need it most.”

The work done by people at the community level is crucial to ensuring people get the supports and services they need, and complements the actions taken by the Province to improve public safety and support those affected by crime. The Province’s Safer Communities Action Plan is building safer and stronger communities by improving co-ordination and collaboration between law enforcement, Indigenous community leaders, community service organizations, justice-system officials, health-care providers and everyone in British Columbia.

Learn More:

To see information about provincial community safety and crime prevention, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/crime-prevention/community-crime-prevention/awards

A backgrounder follows.


Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Media Relations
250 213-3602


Award winners honoured for work supporting crime prevention and community safety

Angela Maria MacDougall, Battered Women’s Support Services

Winner of the Award of Distinction, Angela Marie MacDougall has been an advocate and champion for survivors of gender-based violence for more than 30 years. As the executive director of Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), MacDougall leads a strong, dynamic organization that takes an intersectional approach to providing support and advocacy for women experiencing intimate-partner or sexualized violence. Part of a global feminist anti-violence movement, BWSS’s long-term goal is the elimination of all violence against women and girls. MacDougall is a passionate leader who continues to inspire others to take action.

Debbie Klaric, police-based victim services, North Island Crisis and Counselling Centre Society

Winner of the Services to Victims Award, Debbie Klaric has spent more than 20 years supporting hundreds of victims and survivors with compassion, respect and dignity in the remote and rural communities of the North Island. Klaric chairs the domestic violence committee and has been instrumental in bringing third party reporting and a sexual assault response program to the North Island. Klaric has been a voice for victims and survivors in a challenging environment. Her ability to identify and mitigate gaps in service is crucial in supporting these remote communities.

Evelyn Zellerer, Peace of the Circle

Winner of the Restorative Justice Award, Evelyn Zellerer has been championing restorative and Indigenous justice for more than 25 years. She is the founder and director of Peace of the Circle, an organization that teaches, fosters and facilitates open communication to generate peace. Through her leadership and dedication to restorative justice, Zellerer has created and leads the Restorative Collective Vancouver. This collective comprised of various organizations has contributed significantly to the restorative justice sector and is working with the City of Vancouver to make Vancouver the first restorative city in Canada, where all forms of conflict, harm and oppression are addressed and healing is a focus.

Gary Thandi, Moving Forward Family Services

Winner of the Safe Communities Award, Gary Thandi has devoted more than 20 years of his career to Moving Forward Family Services, an organization that provides counselling and support to diverse and underserved communities in B.C. and across Canada. Thandi strives to make communities safer and more resilient by addressing systemic barriers for clients and making services more accessible and culturally appropriate. Through Thandi’s leadership and perseverance, Moving Forward Family Services has also established a mentorship program to help connect and foster greater learning.

North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society, child and family counsellors

Winner of the Youth Leadership Award, North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society (NOYFSS) has served children, youth, and families in the north Okanagan region for more than 40 years. NOYFSS provides programs and support in areas such as youth agreements, youth at risk, parent-teen conflict, and youth justice. Support can include crisis intervention, helping a youth move on a weekend or evening, assisting with job interview preparation, supporting a post-secondary transition, or just being there when needed. The commitment, respect and trust that the youth services team has built over the years has made their programs successful in creating positive change in the lives of the youth they serve.


Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Media Relations
250 213-3602


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