StettlerLocal.com October 28, 2023 at 11:05 am
Judy Leflar says family violence in Stettler has increased over the past few years.
Leflar, a facilitator for men's and women's Shaping Tomorrow groups, says families were placed in difficult situations when recent health lockdowns left them without breaks and distractions.
"COVID was a bad time for a lot of families," says Leflar. "There was a forced intimacy, and they were together more than when they were out working."
Bernadette Schofer, a retired social worker, says stress on families hasn't eased.
"There are still a lot of pressures," she says, "such as finances and rising costs."
Schofer has been with the Stettler Society for the Prevention of Family Violence "since the beginning." The Society was incorporated in 1987 to provide preventative education and facilitate groups to promote healthier relationships.
Both Leflar and Schofer, along with other members of the Society, were present at the signing of a proclamation in Stettler's Council Chambers to mark November as Family Violence Awareness Month.
This proclamation aligns with the provincial government's campaign, Family Violence Prevention Month, that also runs during November.
According to the Alberta government, our province has the third highest rate of "self-reported spousal violence" in Canada.
Schofer, who worked with families for over 30 years, says the community can help victims of violence through awareness.
"Being aware of family violence and knowing what resources are available in the community can help a friend or neighbour cope with their situation," she says.
The Society also conducts a Rose Campaign each November to raise awareness. Fourteen dozen roses are placed in local businesses as silent reminders of the violence and abuse that take place in our community.
Another way people can help is to make a cash donation.
"If you want to donate to our groups, that would certainly be appreciated," says Leflar. "We put out little coin banks in businesses on Main Street during the month."
The Family Violence Awareness Month proclamation was signed by Stettler Mayor Sean Nolls and County of Stettler Reeve Larry Clark on October 27.