A Central Albertan Coalition is hosting it’s third Vision for Non Violence Conference in Elnora on November 4.
F.C.S.S. Community Development Coordinator Alissa McDonald is pleased to be part of the committee that is hosting this event for the third year.
“The first one was held in Innisfail, where we had 50 participants, the second was held in Sylvan, where we had about 70,” she said, adding that she hopes to see even more this year.
The goals of the conference are to “develop a Community Action Plan (CAP) that focuses on awareness, prevention, intervention, outreach and enforcement services” and increases “community partnerships, cooperation and collaboration,” as well as to “provide a coordinated approach to supporting individuals experiencing family violence,” according to a presentation made to Sylvan Lake Town Council on October 11.
“All different aspects of family violence are addressed,” McDonald said. “We want people to be aware in the community pertaining to prevention, strategies and the impact violence has on families.”
The coalition, which includes the municipalities of Benalto, Bentley, Blackfalds, Bowden, Delburne, Eckville, Elnora, Innisfail, Lacombe, Rimbey, Rocky Mountain House, Stettler and Sylvan Lake, according to the presentation to council has a vision of: “Our Communities will strive to reduce violence” and a mission statement of “Our collective action will create awareness and educational opportunities to build strong, safe, healthy resilient communities.
“With the downturn of the economy, family violence prevention is more needed then ever,” McDonald said. “With the economy, we are seeing in our communities that families are dealing with more issues – money is tighter meaning tensions and with that emotions become heightened. We tend to see a lot more family violence happening.”
The conference will include guest speakers Judi Beebe from Communities Against Abuse, Kellie Cummings from Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter, Ralph Cervi from Central Alberta Sexual Assault Centre along with Ashley who will be providing a victim impact story and Patricia Jones from Catholic Family Services.
The successes of the Vision for Non Violence Coalition include a 2016 Human Services Award Nomination for their work with family violence prevention and healthy relationship building, partnering with the Sylvan Lake Seniors Association to write a grant for elder abuse awareness and compiling violence information binders for all of their constituent communities.
The point of the conference is to provide consistent information to those experiencing family violence.
“We want people to notice signs and symptoms of family violence and also to know what do about it,” McDonald said. “We want them to know what is available for them in the community and we want to create consistent messaging and plans that are similar from one community to another.”
The coalition intends to create “consistent messaging for all communities”, the creation of a regional banner and further social media activity using the hash tag #rvfnv.
The conference runs 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the cost is $25 – registration is online and cheques need to be paid in advance to P.O. Box 654, Elnora Alberta T0M 0Y0 by October 21, although late registrations are a possibility.
The 2017 conference has just been announced for Sylvan Lake next year.
McDonald added “if you work in the field of family violence, it is a great opportunity to network.”