Tuesday, 22 January 2013 09:22

Survey/meetings help gather feedback about violence and abuse

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Individuals have until the end of the month to take part in a confidential survey about the issues of sexual violence, sexual abuse and domestic violence. Kind Communities and the Sexual Assault Response Committee in southeast Alberta have received funding from the Status of Women Canada to research people’s opinions about sexual assault and abuse as well as domestic violence.

Being Human Services is conducting the survey on behalf of the groups, along with four focus group meetings throughout the southeast corner.
“We want input from a broad group of people so we can understand their perspectives on assault, sexual abuse and family violence,” says Pamela Wagner, managing director of Being Human Services.
Individuals can share their opinions of the support they found and what worked and didn’t work for them.
“We want to identify ways to strengthen the response to domestic violence and ultimately to reduce (its occurrence),” adds Wagner.
Focus groups are a place to share ideas, viewpoints and priorities about the issues and concerns about sexual assault, sexual abuse and domestic violence that are important in each distinct location. One took place Jan. 15 in Medicine Hat, while the second was Jan. 17 in Brooks.
A third meeting is set for Jan. 22 at Bow Island’s St. Andrews United Church from 7-9 p.m. The last meeting is in Oyen at the FCSS Community Centre on Jan. 24 from 7-9 p.m. Registration is required to attend the meetings. The first 12 people to register each receive a $25 honorarium for taking part as well as childcare is provided. Those interested should register by phoning 403-527-2119.
The confidential survey is online at: http://www.being humanservices.ca/survey.html. It only takes about five minutes to complete. Individuals who would like to fill out a paper survey can contact Wagner at 403-527-2119.
“The survey is one piece,” says Wagner. “The focus groups are a chance to discuss issues in a broader context.”
The work being done by Being Human Services is just one component to the research being done. The other components include a literature review and surveying the capacity of existing agencies to provide the necessary supports.
“When you talk about gender violence, look at how often we see this in the news,” says Wagner. “We know we need to get a better understanding of what is happening.”
Gender-based violence can apply to men and women, girls and boys.
“It is important to address violence with both sexes, as educating everyone is key to changing behaviour. Resources are needed for both victims and offenders, both men and women,” says Wagner.
Women tend to be most affected and have fewer resources available to them.
The Sexual Assault Response Committee (SARC) has been an active committee in our city for more than 15 years. According to its website, it is comprised of more than 20 community agencies who “provide services to victims and their families much like those services that would be found at a Sexual Assault Centre.”

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Rose Sanchez

Assistant Managing Editor

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