Help for Family Violence

Domestic and family violence continues to be prevalent in our community. It’s an issue that hurts families and impacts the community, yet talking about it is tough.

With over 85,000 victims of violent crimes reporting the person responsible was a family member, it is critical that those who are experiencing abuse know that help is available.

How we can help

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.

Individuals interested in or referred to our domestic abuse program begin with individual counselling sessions, followed by an assessment to provide the counsellor with the client’s history with aggression or abuse. Counsellors then assess whether group participation is appropriate for the client, and if so, they are assigned to one of the three programs that we offer:

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.

By the Numbers

In 2015, the Calgary Counselling Centre responded to 8,230 requests for service. Of these, 511 clients specifically requested participation in one of our domestic abuse group programs. This resulted in over 2,500 hours of direct counselling services to offenders and victims.

How you can help

According to the Government of Alberta’s 2016 Prevention of Family Violence and Bullying Survey, 51% of Albertans believe that Family Violence occurs a lot/a fair bit in their communities.

However, they also responded that there are a variety of reasons that they might not step in and help during a family violence situation including:

  • Being unsure of what action to take

  • Feeling that it is a family matter and not their concern

  • Being afraid of being harmed themselves

  • Believing that involving the authorities could make the situation worse

  • Believing it to be an isolated incident

If someone you know is experiencing family violence, here are some ways that you can provide support:

  1. Listen, and take their concerns seriously. Coming forward and talking to someone you trust when you are experiencing conflict in a relationship takes courage. Many people assume that the person they tell will not believe them. The best thing you can do is listen and provide support.

  2. Ensure that the person is in a safe environment. If you are concerned for their safety, talk about options available so they can remove themselves from the unsafe environment.

  3. Encourage them to speak to a counsellor. We are committed to making counselling accessible to everyone, with fees determined on a sliding scale, with no waitlist

  4. If they are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 or the local authorities.

Family violence affects us all, and while there is no simple solution, it is important to know that change is achievable.

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