Domestic Violence: The Hidden Crime

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Since the onset of the pandemic, many crisis lines in Alberta have seen a 30 to 50 per cent increase in calls related to domestic violence. Each year, the Calgary Police Service responds to approximately 30,000 domestic conflict and domestic violence related calls.

After someone makes that critical call to the police and charges are laid in cases of domestic violence, HomeFront is the “what’s next?” Once a client is referred to us from the Calgary Police Service, we ensure they have the support, information, and resources they need to break the cycle of abuse and move their life in a positive and healthy direction.

Although our caseloads have remained relatively consistent in numbers for referrals and charges over the past few years, these numbers do not convey the “whole story” of how COVID-19 and domestic violence have impacted families during the pandemic. 

“We have seen a tremendous increase in the severity of violence coming forward. People are waiting longer on the higher risk end to receive help. Compounded by the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, that added more tools to really isolate victims. What we’re seeing now with the reduction of restrictions, is more people coming forward when it’s safer to do so.”

-Justin Dafoe

The Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association (ACCPA) invited HomeFront Executive Director Maggie MacKillop and Director of Advancement Justin Dafoe to speak about domestic violence and the work we do at HomeFront. In this conversation, we discuss what domestic violence is and who is affected, why victims stay in abusive relationships and potential warning signs, and how the HomeFront model helps victims access the support they need.

“We want people to be reaching out. We want people to know that after a 911 call and charges are laid that HomeFront is there. It’s likely the most scary, intimidating crisis of people’s lives. But we will be there and walk through that journey with you. Nothing changes overnight, but we will stand by you and with you. Reach out for help. Resources are available.”

-Maggie MacKillop

ACCPA was established in 1989 by provincial Police Services as a means to discuss mutual crime related issues within communities, police, and government. ACCPA’s goal is to ensure safety to Albertans and their communities through education and crime prevention awareness.

In their new monthly brandcast, ACCPA invites guest experts to talk about a specific crime prevention topic to connect the community with current information and resources. To access previous episodes or subscribe to the ACCPA brandcast, please visit the ACCPA YouTube channel.