The City of Champions recently launched a new initiative to reduce the rates of domestic violence and sexual assault in Edmonton. As outlined in their Terms of Reference, the goals of the Initiative are to:
- Raise the profile of the work that organizations are already doing;
- Enhance the coordinated, community response to domestic violence and sexual assault;
- Advocate for changes in attitudes and behaviours;
- Promote gender based violence as a public (not private) issue.
Lana Wells was invited to present at the launch to ground the Initiative in research and evidence to support children, youth and adults to develop the capacity to be in healthy relationships and avoid the use of dating and intimate partner violence. The presentation underscored the fact that patterns of behavior associated with domestic violence do not stem from one single factor. Collectively, we need to better understand the barriers and enablers at every level, including individuals, families, organizations and systems.
It is exciting to see The City of Edmonton’s leadership demonstrate a strong commitment to the issue of gender based violence as very few municipalities in Canada have taken on this important social issue. The collaboration between universities, government and the community is an ideal trifecta for creating social change in this area. Shift is very pleased to contribute and help shape this important prevention-focused initiative and will continue to work with the City of Edmonton.