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Municipalities collaborate on domestic violence prevention

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014 06:00 am

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In an effort to tackle domestic violence, service providers across the region will be meeting this week to discuss their role in preventing abuse in their communities.

On Feb. 13 and 14, Sturgeon County Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), in collaboration with Beaumont, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc and Strathcona County FCSS, will be working with Calgary-based organization Shift to host three planning sessions on the prevention of spousal and family abuse.

The sessions will also invite municipal leaders, other service providers, such as the RCMP, and community members to discuss common experiences and how they can work together, said Marg Clark, coordinator with FCSS Sturgeon County.

“We have invited municipal council to come out and hear a little bit from Shift about best practices and what some opportunities are doing from a governance perspective in promoting prevention of family violence,” she said. “And the next day we are bringing in service providers and they’ll talk about it from their own regions and what are some local plans that we can start working on.”

Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence was created at the University of Calgary’s Brenda Stafford Foundation. The project works to develop and support the implementation of long-term prevention strategies against domestic violence in Alberta. It wants to reduce domestic abuse by intervening before any violence can occur in the first place by including service providers, policy makers and community members in the decision-making process, said Clark.

It’s not the first time the regional FCSS organizations worked together. Previous events included the Men as Allies event in November, a session that had invited a group of men identified as positive influences and role models in their communities to discuss what role they can play in the prevention of family violence.

Participants will return for a session on Thursday to review what they learnt, said Clark.

“We also had a regional meeting where we talked about sharing what is happening in our communities,” she said. “And that there is opportunity – if we all worked together – maybe we have collectively a better impact on the issue as opposed to working individually.”

There is great value in being able to collaborate as it not only creates a common focus but an exchange of ideas on how to best tackle domestic violence, said Doreen Slessor with St. Albert Stop Abuse in Family (SAIF).

Slessor will attend Friday’s session but said her organization has worked with FCSS and other victim services in Sturgeon County for many years. They already implemented prevention programs and counselling services in schools and often collaborate on specific cases, she said.

She added that there is great value in bringing municipal politicians and counsellors to the table as they are the ones who drive policy development and apply resources.

“They help with policing, with victim services, funding for some of the supports around programming and education,” she said. “The better that we can collaborate and not work in silos, the better it is for clients.”


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