November is Family Violence Prevention Month and this year’s theme – “Reach Out. Speak Out.” – encourages all Albertans to take action now and in the future to end family violence and support survivors.
Family violence is the abuse of power within relationships, trust or dependency that endangers the survival, security or well-being of another person and includes physical abuse, psychological abuse, criminal harassment/stalking, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse and spiritual abuse.
Some of the warning signs that an adult is being abused include withdrawal from family and friends, a change in personality, signs of depression or anxiety, physical injuries that do not match up with how they say they got them, use/abuse of alcohol or drugs to cope and comments that hint about abuse.
Children who are neglected or abused may also withdraw from others, have problems at school or with their grades, try to take on adult responsibilities such as caring for siblings or doing housework, act aggressively towards others, be extremely watchful or fearful of their parents reactions, know more about sex than is normal for their age and have unexplained bruises or injuries.
In 2015 LPS responded to 1,858 reports of domestic violence – up from 1,629 the year before. Statistically women are more likely than men to be victims of intimate partner violence and as many as 30 per cent of women are likely to experience violence at some point in their lifetime.
In addition, studies have shown that family violence might occur as many as 35 times before the victim first tells anyone. Abuse is rarely a one-time occurrence and tends to worsen over time when there are no direct interventions.
How can people “Reach Out. Speak Out.” to help victims and support survivors?
-If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
-Know the warning signs, what to do and where to get help. Visit www.familyviolence.alberta.ca or phone of the 24-hour toll-free Family Violence Info Line at 310-1818.
-If you witness or suspect family violence report it to police.
Other available resources include:
Crisis Team Help Line: 403-327-7905
YWCA Crisis Line: 403-320-1881
Kid's Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
Distress Line of Southern Alberta: 1-888-787-2880
Lethbridge Family Violence Treatment Services (AHS): 403-388-6547
Domestic Violence Action Team (DVAT): 403-381-3900
For media inquiries contact
Sgt. Cam Van Roon
Domestic Crimes Unit
Lethbridge Police Service