Calgary Counselling Centre continues to strengthen its community outreach initiatives through its recent participation in a Family Prosperity community event, hosted by the Royal Women’s Cultural Association.
The event raises awareness on domestic abuse in the Punjabi community in Calgary. It featured a panel of speakers including health professionals and youth and seniors. Their discussion focused on how to identify and address domestic abuse and explored what victims and the community can do to raise awareness and break down stigma.
Calgary Counselling Centre’s Sonya Sehgal and Manroop Bal – both Counselling Residents at the Centre – participated through occupying a booth with program brochures.
“There is still a lot of stigma regarding domestic abuse in the Punjabi community in Calgary and it’s important that we find ways to break down these barriers,” Sonya explained. “This type of event was effective in continuing the dialog on domestic violence amongst the people in the community.”
Sonya also says a lot of the discussion focused on providing solutions through encouraging the community to talk more openly about domestic abuse while stressing the importance of not feeling shameful when being victimized.
Manroop says one of the other challenges in the Punjabi community is that a lot of people affected by domestic abuse don’t feel comfortable speaking to a counsellor who doesn’t speak their language. Since Manroop speaks Punjabi and Sonya speaks Hindi, both were able to provide a resource to the community.
“Language is a big barrier and the people that we spoke with now know they can come to us at Calgary Counselling Centre for help,” Manroop explains. “Most people didn’t know about us, so we did a lot of promotion for the Centre and its programs. This event really served as a great way to reach out and connect with those in the community affected by domestic abuse.”
Calgary Counselling Centre offers group domestic abuse programs – one each for men and women who are abusive in intimate relationships and for men and women who are victims of violence. The Centre also offers a Male Domestic Abuse Outreach Program which is specifically for men who are victims of violence. These programs offer effective treatment for both victims of violence and those who are abusive to intimate partners.