Pre­vent­ing vi­o­lence and help­ing sur­vivors

The McLeod River Post - - Viewpoint -

Spe­cial to the Post

To mark Fam­ily Vi­o­lence Pre­ven­tion Month, the gov­ern­ment is tak­ing ac­tion to in­crease aware­ness, sup­port sur­vivors and end fam­ily vi­o­lence.

Fam­ily vi­o­lence is an abuse of power in a fam­ily, in­ti­mate part­ner­ship or other trust­ing re­la­tion­ship where peo­ple rely on each other. It can af­fect peo­ple of all ages, abil­i­ties, cul­tural back­grounds, gen­der iden­ti­ties and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tions. There are re­sources avail­able for Al­ber­tans in abu­sive sit­u­a­tions, in­clud­ing a new user-friendly web­site that will help sur­vivors find the sup­ports they need to stay safe, no mat­ter where they live.

“Ev­ery Al­ber­tan has the right to be safe. If you are in an abu­sive sit­u­a­tion, I want you to know you are not alone. There are re­sources and peo­ple avail­able to help and sup­port you. Along­side our com­mu­nity part­ners, we’re work­ing hard to break the cy­cle of abuse and end vi­o­lence in our com­mu­ni­ties.”

Ir­fan Sabir, Min­is­ter of Com­mu­nity and So­cial Ser­vices

Fam­ily Vi­o­lence Pre­ven­tion Month started in 1986 as a com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive in Hin­ton at a time when fam­ily vi­o­lence was rarely dis­cussed in pub­lic. To­day, or­ga­ni­za­tions and peo­ple across the prov­ince are work­ing to pre­vent fam­ily vi­o­lence. The theme of this year’s aware­ness month is “Reach Out, Speak Out – Ev­ery­one has the Right to be Safe.” Al­ber­tans are en­cour­aged to sup­port sur­vivors and in­crease aware­ness by wear­ing a pur­ple rib­bon or at­tend­ing a lo­cal event.

There are sup­ports avail­able to peo­ple in abu­sive sit­u­a­tions, no mat­ter where they live, in­clud­ing:

• In emer­gen­cies, al­ways dial 911.

• In non-emer­gen­cies, com­pas­sion­ate and trained staff can help 24/7 on the Fam­ily Vi­o­lence In­for­ma­tion Line in over 170 lan­guages. Call 310-1818.

• An on­line chat is also avail­able from noon to 8 p.m. daily.

• The new, user­friendly web­site at al­berta. ca/ End Fam­ily Vi­o­lence helps peo­ple ex­pe­ri­enc­ing vi­o­lence nav­i­gate sup­ports.

• The Safer Spa­ces pro­gram al­lows sur­vivors of fam­ily vi­o­lence to end their lease with­out fi­nan­cial penalty. It has helped about 600 Al­ber­tans since 2016 and is avail­able at al­berta.ca/ Safer­S­paces.

In ad­di­tion, women’s shel­ters ex­ist in ma­jor cities, ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties and on five First Na­tions across the prov­ince. This year, an $8.1-mil­lion fund­ing in­crease to the Al­berta As­so­ci­a­tion of Sex­ual As­sault Ser­vices means more ac­cess to coun­selling and cri­sis ser­vices for sur­vivors of sex­ual vi­o­lence. The Gov­ern­ment of Al­berta also en­hanced sup­ports for women and chil­dren af­fected by fam­ily vi­o­lence with a $15-mil­lion in­vest­ment to help make a broader range of sup­ports avail­able, in­clud­ing coun­selling or other com­mu­nity sup­ports, such as help lo­cat­ing hous­ing or ac­cess­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance.

Al­ber­tans are en­cour­aged to raise aware­ness for Fam­ily Vi­o­lence Pre­ven­tion Month by wear­ing a pur­ple rib­bon, us­ing so­cial me­dia to show their sup­port us­ing #GoPur­pleAB and at­tend­ing a lo­cal event.

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