Rural Response to Domestic Violence in Alberta

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On May 10, HomeFront participated in the Rural Response to Domestic Violence Roundtable in Canmore. The Roundtable provided an opportunity for participants to share knowledge to build capacity in rural communities, learn about community approaches and new policies and practices, and increase their network of professional contacts within the domestic violence sector.

The Roundtable was organized by Big Hill Haven, an organization that provides assistance to women and children experiencing domestic abuse in Cochrane and surrounding area. This event brought together both rural and urban stakeholders, and included representatives from Alberta Health Services, Alberta Prosecution Services, Helping Hands of Cochrane & Area, Cochrane and Area Victim Services, Rowan House, YW Banff, Big Hill Haven, and HomeFront.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated domestic violence and many jurisdictions outside of Calgary have reported that domestic violence is a key priority they hope to better address. Unfortunately, victims of domestic violence in rural communities can often face additional barriers that may include limited access to support and services, distance and geographic isolation, transportation barriers, and other challenges. Implementing a coordinated community response in these communities can help to address many of these barriers and provide victims with the services and supports they need to end the cycle of violence.

We have learned that siloed work of systems and agencies are not beneficial. When organizations work from areas of strength in a coordinated response, we can improve the overall service delivery for individuals and maximize system resources. This leads to stronger, more resilient communities.

At HomeFront, we know that collaboration saves lives. Domestic violence is a complex issue that cannot be solved by a single agency alone. By working alongside partners and other agencies, we can surround families with the services and supports they need to end the cycle of violence.

We are grateful for opportunities like the Rural Response to Domestic Violence Roundtable that bring together urban and rural stakeholders to discuss domestic violence response in the rural setting. Through sharing knowledge, collaborating, and coordinating services, we can provide better support for families.

We know that it takes a community to end domestic violence, and through successful collaboration and a continuum of support, victims of domestic violence are given the best chance at brighter and safer futures for themselves, their families, and the community as a whole.

Thank you, Big Hill Haven, for organizing the Rural Response to Domestic Violence Roundtable!