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Calgary Herald - May 8, 2004
Abuse Initiative Unveiled
Two new posts will help stop family violence
Gwendolyn Richards - firstname.lastname@example.org
A province-wide examination of bullying and
domestic violence drew to a close Friday as the Alberta
government announced the creation of two new positions that will
focus on initiatives to stop abuse.
Former Crown prosecutor Val Campbell will
spend the next year working with the Justice Ministry to create
a system for victims of violence going through the courts, as
well as training programs for the police, Alberta Children’s
Services and the Solicitor General to help them with cases of
Justice Minister Dave Hancock said the new
model will be about more than just how the court handles
domestic violence and its victims, but will look to reduce the
repetition of cases going through the system.
“We want victims of family violence and
bullying to know that they don’t have to stop the violence.
“The criminal justice system can and will
take a lead role,” he said.
At the same time, Sheryl Fricke will
co-ordinate domestic violence initiative from all the provincial
The move comes at the tail end of seven
months of roundtable discussions on the problems of family
violence and bullying.
Initiated by Premier Ralph Klein back in
October, the discussions spanned the province, bringing in front
–line workers, stakeholders and victims to talk about the
problem and identify possible solutions.
“We wanted to make sure we engaged Albertans,
understood the problem and then contemplated the next stage:
education, awareness, trying to make sure everybody understands
they have a part in this,” said Alberta Children’s Services
Minister Iris Evans.
From here, she said, the next step is to take
all the information and begin developing programs to combat the
problems of violence in the home and schools.
“One thing we heard is that people, not
programs, change people,” she said.
Already this year, 10 people have died in
incidents attributed to family violence. Two years ago, that
number was six.
“Albertans are increasingly showing concern
about violence in society, in the playground,” said Evans.
“There’s a reawakening.”
Meanwhile, several organizations are charging
the provincial government with perpetuating stereotypes when it
comes to domestic violence.
Gus Sleiman, president of the Men’s
Educational Support Association, said government publications
continue to highlight men as the perpetrators and women as
He said while laws dealing with family
violence have changed, their application hasn’t.
At the counter-roundtable meeting also held
Friday, Sleiman was joined by researchers and university
professors talking about violence stereotypes and biases in the
Paul Millar, a speaker at the
counter-roundtable, added that the Alberta government is only
emphasizing a select number of perspectives as they try to
create new policies for dealing with domestic abuse.
Elder advocate Ruth Maria Adria said the
roundtable discussions haven’t included abuse against seniors,
despite the fact that Elder Advocates of Alberta receives three
or four complaints per day about the mistreatment of seniors.
© Copyright; The Calgary Herald