Provincial program to tackle violence

The provincial government has developed a plan it hopes will prevent domestic abuse in Alberta. The Family Violence Hurts Everyone framework was released November 29.

During a press conference at the University of Calgary Sandra Jansen Associate Minister of Family and Community Safety said the framework represents the government’s commitment to ending violence within the home and within intimate relationships.

Human Services spokesperson Cheryl Tkalcic says the framework includes funding for training those who come into contact with potential victims of domestic violence.

“There’s also some training specific for that same group [of frontline workers] that centres around cultural competence. Often with immigrant refugee populations there’s a few different issues that we’ve been told that people need a little more training on” says Tkalcic.

She also says the government is organizing a committee to determine how many people have died in Alberta as a result of family violence. Authorities believe that from 2000 to 2012 121 people were either murdered or committed suicide in relation to an intimate partner violence incident though there are no established terms of reference to measure that number. A death review committee will be implemented in the new year to discuss those parameters.

The government is also operating a pilot project at Mount Royal University to help students recognize and address dating violence — a problem Tkalcic points out has reportedly been growing faster in recent years than spousal violence.

Alberta has the second highest rate of reported domestic violence among Canadian provinces. The framework focuses on preventing intimate partner abuse sexual assault child abuse and neglect abuse of parents elder abuse and witnessing abuse by other family members with special focus on victims who may be especially vulnerable due to geographic isolation or poverty. It addresses physical psychological sexual verbal emotional financial and spiritual abuse as well as criminal harassment and stalking.

Alberta Health Services and the ministries of Aboriginal Relations Education Health Human Services and Justice collaborated to develop the framework.