During the holiday season, many families and individuals experience increased stress, which, unfortunately, can lead to a rise in family violence.
Support and services for domestic violence victims
“Family violence has devastating consequences for children, men and women across the province. If an Albertan is experiencing abuse, or knows someone who they think may be in a family violence situation, there are resources available to help,” says Human Services Minister Dave Hancock.
“I encourage everyone to reach out – so no one has to live in fear of violence this holiday season, or any other time of year.”
If you think someone may be experiencing abuse, call the Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818 for information and to help them connect with support and services.
Help is available anytime, toll-free province-wide, in more than 170 languages. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911. To speak with someone at the shelter nearest you, contact the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters at 1-866-331-3933 or visit www.acws.ca.
“The Christmas season is a time of light and inspiration, and people often do all they can to keep their families together during the holidays,” says Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters Provincial Coordinator Jan Reimer. “If there isn’t peace in the home, there are people and places that are waiting to help. Dedicated shelter staff who understand the complexities of family violence work 24/7 to be there for those in need.”
Victims of family violence now have greater protection, including strong penalties for those who violate protection orders, with new legislation that came into force this fall.
Amendments to the Protection Against Family Violence Act have added offence and penalty provisions and those who violate protection orders now face penalties that are among the strongest in Canada – sending a clear message that it will not be tolerated.
The changes came into force on November 1, with additions to arrest provisions available for police coming into force December 15.
“This new legislation gives police another tool to help protect victims of family violence,” says Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police President Chief Rick Hanson. “Domestic violence is not restricted to any one community, nor does it always happen behind closed doors. Domestic-related, criminal offences occur in every community in our province. We know that communities are only made safer by working together. Safety is a shared responsibility and everyone has a role to play.”
For information and resources, visit familyviolence.alberta.ca. The provincial budget for family violence prevention is more than $65 million.
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