Working to end domestic violence

A missive from the Community Coordination for Safety in Relationships Committee; Cranbrook and Kimberley

For the Townsman

Nestled at the southern end of the Columbia valley, as the Purcells meet the Rockies Cranbrook and Kimberley enjoy an abundance of natural treasures.

Despite the beauty of our surroundings our area is not immune to intimate partner violence and the physical, mental and emotional costs that come with it. Intimate partner violence is defined not only by physical and sexual assaults but also by ongoing mental, emotional and financial abuse.

The effects of abuse and trauma continue long after the violence has stopped, in the forms of persistent physical and mental health disorders, increased suicidality, decreased income, increased substance use and difficulty forming new relationships.

Intimate partner violence thrives behind closed doors and leaving an abusive relationship can be a long and dangerous process. Accessing non-judgmental, well-informed support is essential for assisting victims, whether or not they leave their abusers, to reduce the risk they face.

In our area the Ending the Violence Association of BC supports two agencies in working with victims of intimate partner violence.

Summit Community Services offers women’s and men’s individual counselling to survivors of trauma, community-based victims services, police-based victim’s services and Kimberley women’s outreach services while the Canadian Mental Health Association provides Kootenay Haven Transition House, Haven Gardens Second-stage housing and Cranbrook women’s outreach services. Together Summit Community Services and Canadian Mental Health have partnered to chair a collaborative group to increase our community’s knowledge about intimate partner violence and the resources available to combat it. In an effort to work together to create safety and systemic change through partnerships and information sharing the Community Coordination for Safety in Relationships Committee of Cranbrook and Kimberley (CCSR) includes members of both non-profit and governmental agencies, all focused on supporting healthy family and intimate partner relationships.

From Monday, April 11 to Sunday, April 17 the CCSR will be spear heading our community’s Prevention of Violence Against Women Week. This week is recognized provincially in a bid to open the closed doors victims and survivors come in contact with and to encourage all community members to speak out against intimate partner violence. As our community begins speaking with one voice against intimate partner violence the acceptability of abuse will continue to decrease.

The Social Planning Society of Cranbrook is partnering to support the CCSR’s Prevention of Violence Against Women week and all the information about events will be found on www.cranbrookclicks.com. The website launched in 2015 and provides access and information on all community non-profit agencies and supports that community members may need to access when building new skills and capacities. In easing connection to supports the website hopes to remove one of the barriers people may face.

In working together to provide a community wide network of supports, with individual plans tailored to each victim and survivors needs and goals the impacts of abuse will be reduced and future intimate partner violence will be prevented. To add your voice to the movement stay tuned to www.cranbrookclicks and join the CCSR for Violence Against Women Week activities.

You may also like to follow our Facebook page www.facebook.com/Cranbrook/Social/Planning/ where meeting details and activities will also be posted.  The March meeting of the Social Planning Society is scheduled for Monday, March 21, starting at 1 pm – 3 pm at the Salvation Army.  Join us to learn about Salvation Army services and what is happening with the proposed Homeless Shelter.

Community Coordination for Safety in Relationships Committee; Cranbrook and Kimberley