Ending Family and Domestic Abuse in Alberta

In November of 2016, we were pleased to participate in the 30th anniversary of Family Violence Prevention month here in Alberta.

Established in 1986 as a local initiative in the town of Hinton, Alberta, by the Hinton Society for Family Violence, it was the first family violence education and prevention campaign. The goal of the society was to draw public attention to the issue and make a change in the community. This initiative inspired the Alberta government to support family violence prevention as an ongoing initiative and thus Family Violence Prevention Month was created.


In 2016, hundreds of Alberta communities and thousands of individuals and organizations were actively involved in the campaign to encourage those affected by domestic and family violence to reach out, speak out and know that help is available. Calgary Counselling Centre helped to raise awareness by sharing content on support services available and types of family violence, while paying special attention to emphasize that men can also be victims of domestic and family violence.

Since 2006, the Wilson Centre for Domestic Abuse Studies here at the Calgary Counselling Centre has been the leading research and training facility in North America for those affected by abuse. With over 85,000 victims of violent crimes reported that the person responsible was a family member, it is important for Calgarians to know that help is available, counselling works and change is achievable.

For concerned family and friends, it’s important to understand who experiences family violence, what the impacts are, and how together we can support those in need.

What is family violence and domestic abuse?

Certain behaviours are considered family violence or domestic abuse when they are used to harm or control members of their family or their intimate partner. Often times, these types of behaviours create direct and indirect impacts on health.

Family violence can come in the form of child abuse, elderly abuse or any type of family violence listed below between family members.

Types of family violence can include:

  • Physical abuse: physical acts such as striking, pushing, slapping, or choking.

  • Sexual abuse: any type of forced sexual activity or coercion. Sexual contact with anyone under the age of 16 is a crime, as is sexual activity that exploits anyone under the age of 18.

  • Emotional abuse: using words or actions to affect someone’s emotions.

  • Financial abuse: the intent to misuse someone’s finances or property.

  • Neglect: not providing basic human needs such as food, shelter, clothing, health care and protection from harm.

  • Exposure: when children are aware that any of the abuses listed above are happening in their home.

Who is at risk?

According to the 2016 Family Violence in Canada Report produced by the Chief Public Health Officer, just under 9 million Canadians, or approximately one in three people, said they experienced some form of abuse before 15 years of age.

Women, children, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and those that identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or questioning are at a greater risk of experiencing family violence and feeling its impacts.

However, men are just as susceptible to domestic abuse. According to a May 2016 report on domestic violence produced by the Calgary Police Service, one in five victims of domestic conflict is male.

How we help

At Calgary Counselling Centre, we have four main programs designed to help men and women who are abusive or aggressive in intimate relationships or who are experiencing abuse in an intimate relationship.

Responsible Choices for Men and Responsible Choices for Women:

Designed to help men/women who are abusive or aggressive in intimate relationships. Clients learn to be self-aware of their emotions and deal with them in a healthier manner. Positive relationships are modeled and taught in the group.

Turn For the Better:

This is a program designed for men who have experienced abuse in an intimate relationship. The program explores issues of abuse and offers methods for healing from the effects of violence.

You Are Not Alone:

For women who have experienced abuse in an intimate relationship. The group explores issues of abuse and offers methods for living life free from abuse.

Youth and child counselling services for domestic and family violence are also available for parents and children who are experiencing conflict and abuse.

Calgary Counselling Centre is committed to delivering on our promise of providing barrier-free access to services, without a wait list and regardless of ability to pay to help end the cycle of abuse.

To learn more about our programs and services or to register for counselling, call 403-691-5991 or click here to schedule an appointment with a counsellor today.

Nick Heer