November marks Family Violence Awareness Month across Canada, with each province raising awareness and working towards reduction and prevention.
The rate of police reports of family violence across the nation are severe, which presents a serious problem for both the family communities and Canadian society as a whole. Youth and young children are at higher risk of experiencing family violence.
Deena Brock, the provincial co-ordinator for the Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters said, “Provincially, what we’re seeing is that the domestic abuse and family violence is not decreasing at all. We’re still getting a tremendous number of calls requesting assistance or help in some manner.”
“I have seen firsthand the terrible costs of Family Violence as a former Police Officer and in my current role as a Crown Witness Coordinator with the PPSC. In my opinion, these disproportionate per capita numbers are the result of a combination of issues such as substance addictions and residential school trauma,” said Steve Norm, Northwest Territories member of the legislative assembly for Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh.
Provinces are working to identify, address, reduce, and ultimately end family violence, with this month being an opportunity to work with partners and create more awareness surrounding the issue. Their aim is to change attitudes and behaviours that cause violence so that the community is safer and healthier to live in.
Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly Member for Great Slave Katrina Nokleby said, “We need to address the key issues, including root trauma and addictions, as well as provide support and educational programming to begin healing our families.”
“It takes a community to work together to prevent and put an end to abuse. This month, we also want to remind people of what supports are available to end family violence and build healthier relationships. There are always places to turn when you’re in need,” said Rajan Sawhney, minister of community and social services in Alberta.
Each province is raising awareness in various ways.
Alberta is using the hashtag #GoPurple and encouraging the public to wear purple in support of family violence prevention.
For the Northwest Territories, the theme for this year is ‘It Starts With Me,’ with the thought that everyone has a role to play in addressing and reducing family violence.
The Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses has launched Wrapped in Courage. This campaign encourages everyone to buy a purple scarf from their local shelter in support of ending violence against women and children in Ontario.
The initiative is to last the entire month of November, to encourage all communities to get involved and hold events during the month.
The Ending Violence Association of Canada website has links to organizations that provide services to people that are in danger and need help. You can visit the site here. (http://endingviolencecanada.org/getting-help/)
If a person or persons are in immediate danger or fear for their safety, the organization advises them to call 9-1-1.
The Government of Canada has pertinent information regarding getting help on its website. You can visit the site here.