Family Violence Prevention Month started in 1986 as a local initiative in the town of Hinton, Alberta where concerned residents launched a family violence education and prevention campaign. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Family Violence Prevention Month.
This grassroots effort inspired the Alberta Legislature to support family violence prevention as an ongoing provincial initiative, resulting in the creation of Family Violence Prevention Month. Today, hundreds of Alberta communities and thousands of individuals are actively involved in preventing family violence by providing public education and services. This issue is an urgent one in our community, as Alberta has the second highest rate of domestic violence in the country.
Working in collaboration with the Calgary Domestic Violence Collective, the University of Calgary`s Gender Studies Program & the Alberta Council of Women`s Shelters, CFN seeks to address these issues. Although immigrant and refugee women experience the same forms of as those experienced by Canadian-born women, they also face particular barriers. A newcomer woman abused by her spouse or partner may suffer forms of abuse unique to the newcomer experience. Immigration and sponsorship processes often put one partner in a position of power over the other. The reinforcement of power works as an imbalance and in favour of the abuser. Newcomer women also face particular barriers to accessing the services available to them. This often takes the form of lack of access to information on their legal right, as a result of isolation, language barriers and fear of losing their children or even their immigration status.
Family violence is not a private matter. It affects all of us. We, as a community, feel the pain and sadness that envelopes this violence. However, more than ever, we must stand together as a community to support each other while working in our neighbourhoods, municipalities and across the province to stop family violence.