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Coalition looking to make big impact on family violence prevention

A newly renamed coalition is hoping to educate the public at large as part of Family Violence Prevention Month. Joanne Peckham with Impact Grande Prairie, which is a group of several social agencies including Odyssey House and PACE, says Alberta has the highest rate of self-reported spousal violence amongst the Canadian provinces, and it’s the best first step they can take is to make it known that it’s ok to come forward.

“It’s time to increase awareness of the resources and supports available in your community so we can work together; our goal is to eradicate family violence, domestic violence, and sexual abuse.”

Peckham says one of the major initiatives in 2020 will be spent at the Prairie Mall, where members of the coalition will be speaking to the public to raise awareness using a spot at the Cars for Christmas Lottery booth.

“We are really fortunate that Swan City Rotary partnered up with us this month to do Cars for Christmas, and we are there all next week selling tickets but also bringing awareness in their own backyard, and what they can do to help people out.”

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She adds that one of the major impacts of the pandemic when it comes to family violence is a lack of potential safe spaces for those who are the victim of abuse.

“That does exist right now because before the person who would be going through the abuse or violence had an opportunity to reach out for help, and make that phone call. Now that they’re stuck in that same household, it’s become challenging… and the same with children when they go to school, they talk to their teacher, or they talk to someone like a counsellor.”

November has been declared Family Violence Prevention Month in the Province of Alberta, as well as the City and County of Grande Prairie. Impact Grande Prairie was previously known as the Prevention of Family Violence Network.

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