Local resources available for those suffering from family violence
November is Family Violence Prevention Month and the campaign is focusing on raising awareness and providing resources for those who are affected by violence.
Dating violence is a form of domestic violence and can touch people from all walks of life, including those with disabilities, sexual minorities, Aboriginal and ethno-cultural people, and expecting couples.
“Although there are risk factors, it can happen to anyone,” said Caren Anderson, treatment services coordinator for Community Links. “Young people can be particularly vulnerable because they don’t have that experience to fall back on when making decisions.”
Anderson says family violence is prevalent in Airdrie and the surrounding area and will likely increase with growth of the city.
She said dating violence, like other forms of abuse, can affect both individuals in the relationship as well as those they know.
Anderson said there are a number of signs that may point to dating violence.
Signs include verbal and emotional abuse, such as name calling and using hurtful words; one of the partners may ignore the other or give them the silent treatment; manipulation and controlling tactics, which may extend to one partner telling the other person who they may associate with or what they can wear or do.
Hitting, pushing, threatening, spreading hurtful rumours in person or through technology, stalking, sexual abuse, excessive email or texts and the abuser threatening to harm him or herself are all signs to watch for.
Less obvious signs may be withdrawal, lack of interest in things previously enjoyed and changes in personality.
Anderson said there is help for those who are abused or suspect someone they know is being abused.
“There are lots of resources through Community Links itself,” said Anderson, adding counseling, education, resources and support groups are all available.
Anderson said additional resources are available through Airdrie and District Victim Assistance Society and local RCMP.
If you are a parent who suspects your child may be in an abusive relationship, Anderson said it is important to keep the communication lines open with your child and as a parent, not be afraid to reach out for help.
“It’s really tough to know how to help in that situation,” said Anderson. “You don’t want to push the person further away by saying ‘you can’t see that person.’ As parents we want to save and rescue and we can’t always do that either, because that can potentially push that child away. It is about being supportive.”
As part of Family Violence Prevention Month, Airdrie’s PEACE Committee is hosting a Light the Night event to bring awareness to the issue.
The event, which will take place Nov. 15 at Community Links’ south office, located at 211, 125 Main Street, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., will feature several speakers including members of the PEACE Committee, the local RCMP and a local women’s shelter.
The public is welcome.
For more information on Family Violence Prevention Month and what to look for in a healthy relationship, visit www.child.alberta.ca or contact Alberta’s Family Violence Information Line at 310-1818 or contact Community Links at 403-945-3900.