Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter wants more men to be active role models in preventing domestic violence.
“It really is a community issue that involves both men and women. If we ever hope to see a reduction in domestic violence, both men and women have to be aware and engaged in the whole issue,” said CAWES executive director Ian Wheeliker on Monday.
He said the vast majority of men are non-violent and care about the safety of their sisters, mothers and daughters. But they may wonder what they can do.
CAWES will kick-start the conversation by hosting its first annual Breakfast with the Guys on Nov. 28. at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club, with guest speaker American Jackson Katz, who is recognized in the field of domestic violence and engaging men and boys to end the violence against women.
“We’ve got to really start putting a dent in the rates of domestic violence through education, awareness and prevention. That’s a big focus for the next five years for us,” Wheeliker said.
CAWES will also be fundraising to expand its services by building a second-stage housing project for women and children who are at high risk of domestic violence.
Julietta’s Place, an existing 10-suite, second-stage housing project run by Central Alberta Women’s Outreach Society, is for women at low to medium risk, he said.
“Where we find the gap is with the high-risk (clients). That’s the next step in providing the residential safety.
“Our goal is to be in the new facility and have it fully operational five years from now.”
The 15-to-20-suite project is estimated at $5 million to $10 million.
Discussion with stakeholders and the community will begin soon, he said.
Recently, CAWES received $38,000 from Royal LePage Shelter Foundation raised through a community garage sale and golf tournament.
Wheeliker said the money will go towards CAWES women’s and children’s programs.
He said the shelter was busy throughout the summer, which is typical because women don’t like to disrupt their children during the school year.
“In August, the RCMP had 200 domestic violence files. That’s up from an average of about 150 a month.”