Help prevent family violence: reach out, speak out.

November 7, 2017

Help prevent family violence: reach out, speak out.

Today, Mayor Rod Frank declared November as family violence prevention month in Strathcona County. In partnership with community agencies, Strathcona County will be promoting awareness, education and dialogue about family violence prevention in Strathcona County through the Reach Out. Speak Out. campaign and the White Ribbon initiative.

“Speaking out against family violence can be very intimidating,” says Mayor Rod Frank. “We know family violence affects all walks of life. This campaign is a reminder that, as a community, we will not tolerate any form of violence. No one has to feel alone - there is help available.” 

Together, A Safe Place, Victim Services, Saffron, Men as Allies members and Strathcona County encourage the community to ‘reach out’ to those who need help and to ‘speak out’ against violence and abuse. The campaign also supports the County’s Social Framework Policy’s safety outcome.

“In 2016, there were 884 police reports of family violence in Strathcona County,” says Superintendent Dave Kalist, Officer in Charge of the Strathcona County RCMP.  “With our dedicated Domestic Violence Unit and Victims Services Unit, we are working hard to ensure victims of family violence are supported and do not need to stand alone." This unit consists of RCMP members and a Family and Community Service Social Worker.  This integrated team supports victims of family violence to increase their safety and navigate the legal and social systems of support.  

The Reach Out. Speak Out. campaign is supported by the All Walks of Life exhibit, consisting of hundreds of pairs of shoes placed in public facilities throughout the County during the month of November. The shoes, of all sizes, are a visual reminder that people affected by family violence come from all walks of life regardless of gender, age, religion, ethnicity, or economic status.

The goals of the exhibit are to generate discussions on personal well-being, and healthy relationships, as well as to commemorate and honour the lives of individuals and affected by family violence. Most importantly, the exhibit encourages people to how they can reach out and speak out within their own lives to put an end to family violence. The exhibit, and information handouts, also aims to educate the community about the varying degrees of family violence; while highlighting that people affected by family violence are not alone, and there are resources and supports available for those who are at risk.

All residents are encouraged to show their commitment to healthy relationships by wearing a White Ribbon and taking the pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence.

White ribbons are available at County facilities and the Bethel Transit Centre, free of charge throughout the month of November.

The White Ribbon Campaign is part of an international movement that symbolizes people’s commitment towards positive relationships. Established in 1991 by a small group of Canadian men, the campaign urges men to speak out against violence against women. Now in almost 60 countries, the White Ribbon Campaign is the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women and girls, and to promote gender equality, healthy relationships, and a new vision of masculinity.

In addition to participating in the White Ribbon Campaign, Strathcona County has developed a local network of men in the community, known as Men as Allies, who recognize that everyone has a role to play in ending family violence. Through their spheres of influence Men as Allies raise awareness and educate men and women about their role in preventing domestic violence.

Anyone who is in, or aware of an abusive situation, is encouraged to call the Safe Place 24-hour crisis line at 780-464-7233. Contact Strathcona County Family and Community Services for resources and supports to address family violence, including walk-in counselling, by calling 780-464-4044 or online.

Set in the centre of Alberta’s energy and agricultural heartland, Strathcona County is a thriving, successful and vibrant community of over 98,000 residents. Strathcona County is made up of the urban area of Sherwood Park and a large adjacent rural area of farms, acreages and smaller hamlets. It is home to 75 per cent of refining in Western Canada. With a focus on economic, governance, social, cultural and environmental sustainability, Strathcona County is committed to balancing the unique needs of its diverse community.

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Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595