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Media Release Archive

PRESS RELEASE 

December 4, 2019 

 

 

Yellowhead Emergency Shelter for Women Executive Director Wins Provincial Award for Excellence 

 

 

Edmonton, Alberta – The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) recognized Marj Luger, the Executive Director of the Yellowhead Emergency Shelter for Women, with the 2019 Joie Dery Award for excellence in shelter work today at a meeting of Shelter Directors. 

The award celebrates excellence in shelter work and is named in honour of Joie Dery, a former shelter worker who committed herself to social justice for abused women in the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre in Cold Lake and a former President of ACWS.  

 

It is so fitting that Marj’s board nominated her as she marks her 25th Anniversary with the Yellowhead ShelterWe are proud to add her to the roster of wonderful women across the province who have won this award. Shelter staff work in stressful conditions dealing with difficult issues – they offer far more than a bed. Ensuring that staff are supported to deal with these conditions helps to create better outcomes for women and children. Having someone like Marj, who is actively engaged in the community; with her colleagues across the province and with the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters is an enormous asset to women and children facing abuse not only in the Hinton area, but across our province.”   

  • Jan Reimer, Executive Director, ACWS 

 

 “Marj is a born advocate.  Her dedication to the women and children in her care is endless. Marj ensures that she is aware of all services available in order for her to make the best referrals possible.” 

- Lori Phillips, Chair of the Yellowhead Emergency Shelter for Women Society  

 

The Joie Dery Award is given annually by the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters to a shelter worker for excellence. Ms. Dery was renowned for her strong sense of social justice coupled with a wonderful sense of humour which she brought to every aspect of her work and life. 

 

ACWS staff, Board and members of Joie Dery's family select the winner from nominations received throughout the year. 

 

About the Yellowhead Emergency Shelter for Women 

 

The Yellowhead Emergency Shelter for Women is an emergency women’s shelter serving Hinton and the surrounding area. The 24-hour crisis line and outreach program support women and their families during periods of crisis; assist with personal safety planning; and make referrals to other agencies. The Outreach program supports families from the shelter as well as community members who do not want to come to the shelter. Further information about programs and services can be reached at 780-865-4359. Access their crisis line at 780-865-5133. 

ACWS is the provincial network organization of women’s shelters in AlbertaACWS supports 39 members operating 51 shelters across the provinceACWS serves shelters through corporate and community change; collective data and research; and frontline education and training to end domestic violence. 

 

 

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For further information or to arrange for an interview, please contact:  

Carlynn McAneeley  

Communications & Partnerships Advisor, ACWS  

780-224-8474   

 

PRESS RELEASE

December 4, 2019

  

Assessment reveals two thirds of women fleeing “severe” risk of being murdered

 

Edmonton, Alberta - Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) today released aggregate data on women, children and seniors accessing shelters in Alberta in the past year.

 

The annual statistics show an increasing severity of violence reported to shelters. Nearly two thirds of women who used the Danger Assessment tool when accessing shelters in Alberta are at a ‘severe’ or ‘extreme’ risk of being murdered by their intimate partner. This is the highest risk level seen in the past eight years.

 

“Domestic violence remains an urgent and serious problem in Alberta. ACWS members sheltered 10,128 women, children and seniors this year, but shelters had to turn away 23,247 women, children and seniors requesting shelter due to a lack of capacity across the province.”

– Jan Reimer, Executive Director, ACWS

 

While highlighting the extent of the ongoing domestic violence epidemic, the statistics also show the transformative impact of shelters on the lives of families and the context in which shelters operate. According to the data, 96% of women and seniors did not return to their abuser after a stay in shelter.

 

Despite operating at capacity, Alberta women’s shelters continue to do transformative work for the women, children and seniors they serve. In the past year, they served 7,474 people through outreach services and provided 78,422 services including emergency and longer-term accommodation, safety planning, trauma-informed childcare, outreach services, counselling, and legal advocacy.

 

39 ACWS members collect data on every woman, child and senior they serve at 51 shelters provincewide to inform shelter services and public policy. With the support of its members, ACWS has one of the largest social justice databases which can inform government policy and practice to provide better services for those who need them.

 

Quick facts:

  • Every six days in Canada, a woman is killed by a current or former intimate partner
  • Alberta has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country, and the severity of the violence is on the rise
  • 10,128 women, children and seniors were sheltered in 2018/19
  • 23,247 women and children requesting shelter were turned away due to a lack of capacity in 2018/19 (a 38% increase from last year)
  • Shelters received 60,170 crisis calls
  • 68% of men surveyed said they had taken some sort of action to intervene when they saw a woman facing abuse

 

Download the full report here: https://acws.ca/collaborate-document/3150/view

 

About ACWS

ACWS is the provincial network organization of women’s shelters in Alberta. ACWS supports 39 members operating 51 shelters across the province. ACWS serves shelters through corporate and community change; collective data and research; and frontline education and training to end domestic violence.

 

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For further information or to arrange for an interview, please contact: 

Carlynn McAneeley 

Communications & Partnerships Advisor, ACWS 

780-224-8474  

 

PRESS RELEASE 

December 3, 2019 

 

 

 

Former Chief Commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls calls on all Albertans to advance the Calls for Justice  

 

 

Edmonton, Alberta  Over two hundred people gathered at MacEwan University Tuesday evening for a public discussion with Marion Buller, former Chief Commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, hosted by Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS). 

 

The free public event included keynote address by Ms. Buller and facilitated discussion on the final report and the role of non-profits, community organizations and institutions in advancing the Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice, along with a community supper and performances by the Bearhead Singers.   

 

I urge you to read the final report and the 231 calls for justice. Over 2,300 people shared their hearts with us, and their truths re-wrote Canadian history. Their truths cannot be unheard. I guarantee their truths will find the fire within you. First, look inward then use your voice to call out racism, sexism and all forms of violence against Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people.  

 – Marion Buller, former Chief Commissioner of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 

 

I hope tonight will be a renewal of commitment for everyone in this room, to seek justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Because it is the imperative of all of us to act. The report says, “…this country is at war, and Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people are under siege,” and the experiences of our members reflect this. They see it every day, and they know it must end. The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters is committed to the work of reducing the assumptions, social practices and actions that contribute to what we now acknowledge as genocide. 

  • Jan Reimer, Executive Director, ACWS 

 

Elder Ruth Scalp Lock, founder of the Indigenous women’s shelter AwoTann Healing Lodge, opened the event with a prayer.  

 

Quick facts: 

  • The number of Indigenous women in Alberta experiencing violence is disproportionately high 

  • Alberta had the second highest rate of instances of MMIWG with 16% of the cases occurring here, according to the Final Report 

  • ACWS works with 39 members including two on-reserve shelters: Sucker Creek Women’s Emergency Shelter Society and Eagle’s Nest Stoney Family Shelter 

  • Alberta has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country, and the severity of the violence is on the rise 

 

ACWS is the provincial network organization of women’s shelters in AlbertaACWS supports 39 members operating 51 shelters across the provinceACWS serves shelters through corporate and community change; collective data and research; and frontline education and training to end domestic violence. 

 

 

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For further information or to arrange for an interview, please contact:  

Carlynn McAneeley  

Communications & Partnerships Advisor, ACWS  

780-224-8474   

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

November 28, 2019

 

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters supports construction workplaces to recognize and stop domestic violence

 

Edmonton, Alberta - Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS), in partnership with the Alberta Construction Safety Association (ACSA), launched an innovative collaboration project at their annual Breakfast with the Guys event to help members of the construction industry recognize the signs of — and interrupt — domestic violence impacting their workplaces. 

 

The ACWS’s annual Breakfast with the Guys brought together over 175 business and community leaders today at Chateau Lacombe Hotel to learn how everyone, and especially men, can lead change in the workplace and in their communities to end violence against women.   

 

“Domestic violence remains an urgent and serious problem that doesn’t stay in the home. It bleeds into the workplace and all areas of our community. We can solve it together through concerted education and collective action. Donate to women’s shelters. Share our awareness videos. Book a Leading Change training for your organization.”– Jan Reimer, Executive Director, ACWS

 

Funded through an OHS Innovation Grant from Alberta Labour, the pilot project includes the customized application of a Domestic Violence & Your Workplace toolkit at ACSA, an awareness campaign for the construction industry, and the launch of an online training course for ACSA members delivered by the ACSA and developed in partnership with the ACWS Leading Change program. 

 

ACWS’ Domestic Violence and Your Workplace program provides business with the in-person training, consultation and tools to recognize the signs of violence, appropriately help workers who are facing violence, and protect their workplaces and employees. 

 

Organizations interested in learning how they can lead change can learn more about the available toolkit and other opportunities at https://acws.ca/leading-change

 

The annual Breakfast takes place every year during Family Violence Prevention Month. It paints a picture of the state of violence towards women in our community and gives male leaders tools to shift behaviors that contribute to a culture of gender-based violence. Men are uniquely positioned to exert influence on other boys and men in their lives.  

 

“Through the supports the shelter helped me access, I was able to overcome my trauma and heal. Now, I am so grateful to work in a shelter and support other women to grow beyond their trauma. I believe that we can end cycles, and we can create new lives. I hope that you can be one of the people in someone else’s life who provides support and stability by supporting women’s shelters.” – Chantel Sparklingeyes, Program Manager, Hope Haven Women’s Shelter

 

Quick facts:

  • Every six days in Canada, a woman is killed by a current or former intimate partner
  • Alberta has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country, and the severity of the violence is on the rise
  • One in four Albertans has experienced violence at their workplace, and domestic violence is the second most prominent form of violence that impacts Alberta workplaces
  • 74% of domestic violence victims will experience abuse at their work – whether it’s the abuser obsessively calling or texting his victim or showing up to her workplace and compromising the safety of all the employees
  • 90% of domestic violence incidents will be disclosed to a coworker
  • Unaddressed domestic violence costs a business $100,000 for every 100 employees – in absenteeism, lost productivity, and retraining

 

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For further information or to arrange for an interview, please contact: 

Carlynn McAneeley 

Communications & Partnerships Advisor, ACWS 

780-224-8474  

 

Notes for Editors 

Breakfast with the Guys Edmonton  

Chateau Lacombe Hotel 

Thursday, 28 November 2019.  

Edmonton AB

Doors: 6:50 a.m.

Program 7:15 a.m. 

Event ends: 8:30 a.m. 

Opportunity for one-on-one media interviews. 

Speakers: 

Jan Reimer, Executive Director, ACWS 

Hon. Leela Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women 

Tammy Hawkins, COO, Alberta Construction Safety Association

Christie Lavan, Leading Change Program Developer, ACWS

James Morrissey, the MET Agency

Chantel Sparklingeyes, Hope Haven Shelter Society  

 

Media Release

November 20, 2019

Engaging men and boys to tackle violence against women during Grey Cup 2019 

 

Calgary, Alberta – Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) launched its #letschangethis campaign to engage everyone, including men and boys, to tackle violence against women and help everyone experience the fun, safe energy of Grey Cup. 

Thanks to a grant from the Department of Women and Girls Equality, ACWS has a suite of activities planned to coincide with Grey Cup 2019 to engage men, boys, and all members of the community to lead change to end violence against women.  

This work is motivated in part on the research of University of Calgary’s Lana Wells which finds that calls for support services increase during high-stakes sports games where alcohol consumption and emotions are high. This campaign also leverages the significant partnerships that ACWS has with sports organizations in Alberta, particularly the Calgary Stampeders.   

ACWS is calling on patrons at this week’s Grey Cup Festival to celebrate while being mindful of the potential for a spike in the use of violence, abuse or harassment directed at women, children and seniors.  

“Domestic violence remains an urgent and serious problem. Every six days in Canada, a woman is killed by a current or former intimate partner. Alberta has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the country, and the severity of the violence is on the rise. That’s why we are proud to partner with the Calgary Stampeders to raise awareness of the issue and the ways in which we can all lead change in our communities – on the field, in the boardroom, and at home. Everyone can learn to spot the signs of violence then play their role by offering support to someone facing abuse. This could include contacting the police, women’s shelters or other support services; or, simply, you can provide a listening ear. Together we can help to make this Grey Cup the greatest and the safest.” 

  • - Jan Reimer, Executive Director, Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters  

ACWS Grey Cup 2019 activities include:  

  • Breakfast with the Guys – a signature ACWS event that brings business and community leaders together for a breakfast event focused on engaging men in the fight for gender equality.  

  • Launch of two awareness videos which show opportunities where bystanders could intervene to interrupt violence (visit https://acws.ca/lets-change-this to view) 

  • Leading Change school presentations and a Domestic Violence and Your Workplace presentation featuring members of the Calgary Stampeders 

  • Information for bar industry staff to recognize and appropriately intervene when they see signs of domestic or sexual violence 

  • Interactive ACWS booth at the Grey Cup Festival that highlights how we are all empowered to disrupt domestic violence in our communities featuring special guests CFL pro Anthony Parker and two-time Grey Cup Champion Keon Raymond 

  • Research with local organizations to collect aggregate data on calls for service to respond to domestic and sexual violence during this period.   

 

Quick facts:  

  • If you experience violence, please know that you are not alone. Whether you need someone to listen, to talk with, to give professional expertise, a place to stay, a safety plan — there are supports available. You don’t have to come into shelter to receive supports from a shelter. Shelter workers are trained to help. 

  • If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.  

  • Alberta Council of Women's Shelters works for a world free from violence and abuse. 39 members operate 51 shelters that serve women, children and seniors throughout the province.  ACWS operates a 24-hr shelter hotline 1-866-331-3933 and provides further resources on our website (www.acws.ca). 

  • This week information packs including posters, coasters and information about available services are being distributed to bars and restaurants in Calgary. To request an information kit for your business, please contact ACWS at 780.224.8474.   

  • Full research report from University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy: https://www.policyschool.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Domestic-Violence-Boutilier-Jadidzadeh-Esina-Wells-Kneebone.pdf  

 

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For further information or to arrange for an interview, please contact: 

Carlynn McAneeley 

Communications & Partnerships Advisor, ACWS 

780-224-8474 

 

Notes for Editors 

 

Breakfast with the Guys Calgary  

Event details: 

Thursday, 21 November 2019.  

The Big 4 Roadhouse Hall B, Stampede Park 

Calgary AB 

Program 7:15 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. 

8:30 am: Opportunity for one-on-one media interviews. 

Speakers: 

Deputy Chief Chad Tawfik, Calgary Police Service  

Jan Reimer, Executive Director, ACWS 

Deb Tomlinson, EVA CAN 

Randy Ambrosie, Commissioner, CFL 

Anthony Parker, Edmonton Eskimos 

Zak Chomchuk, former Edmonton Wildcats 

Keon Raymond, former Calgary Stampeders 

Gordon Norrie, Vice-President, Calgary Sports & Entertainment Corporation 

Tuval Nafshi, Leading Change Community Developer, ACWS 

Lana Wells, University of Calgary  

 

Media Release

October 24, 2019

6th Annual Gifts of Hope Gala

Edmonton, AB. - Women committed to ending domestic abuse will gather this evening at the 6th annual Gifts of Hope Gala event in the Chateau Lacombe Hotel for a fundraiser in aid of the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters. The event is organized by a volunteer committee and in the previous 5 years has raised approximately $75,000 for ACWS. Rachel Rogers, Chair of the Gifts of Hope Gala Committee said,

"We want an end to domestic abuse in our city and in our province. Our dedicated group of supporters believe that women's shelters need sufficient resources to respond to the many needs of abused women across Alberta.”

She continued,

"Our supporters have already raised significant sums of money, and this year we want to bring our total raised to over $100,000. We know that every little bit helps when seeking to change the lives of women, children and seniors facing abuse." This fundraiser will help ACWS and its member shelters be the agents of change toward a world free of domestic abuse.

Jan Reimer, Executive Director of ACWS observed,

"Women facing abuse across the province continue to be in serious danger. Of those women who complete the Danger Assessment Tool while in shelter, almost two-thirds (64.8%) face a high or extreme risk of being murdered by their intimate partner. This highlights the need for informed safety planning and a co-ordinated community response "

She continued,

"This high level of risk, as well as the consistently high levels of turnaways from shelter, means that shelters require as much support as possible. The funds raised by the Gifts of Hope Gala make a significant contribution so that ACWS can effectively support women's shelters and the women they serve. 

Funds raised through the Gala contribute to running the ACWS toll-free 1-866-331-3933 number, as well as supporting translation services. Between 2015-2018, 164,673 women received support through this number and in crisis calls directly to women's shelters.

Rachel Rogers concluded,

"This year the Gifts of Hope Gala continues to send a message to our community: domestic abuse is unacceptable but there is hope. Women's shelters offer the most effective resources and support for any woman seeking to transition to a life free from abuse. Their impact on the lives of so many women is a beacon of hope that we look forward to celebrating.”

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The Gifts of Hope Gala is Emceed every year by Nicola Crosbie.
This year’s guest speaker will be Jill Dean from Lives in Transition.

For further information, contact Eoin Murray, Communications & Partnerships on 780-218-4468.

Media Release

October 17, 2019

Domestic abuse impacts a quarter of Albertans in the workplace.

Edmonton, AB. – Results from the second survey on the impact of ‘Violence and the Workplace’, released today by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, indicate a quarter of respondents (25%) have been impacted by domestic violence in the workplace - making it the second most prominent form of abuse employees encounter.   

Over one third (37%) of Albertans reported encounters with bullying in their workplace.  Sexual harassment (23%) and sexual violence (18%) also impacted a significant proportion of the population.

Speaking at the launch of the ‘Violence and the Workplace’ survey, Jan Reimer, Executive Director of ACWS will say,

“For too long society has viewed domestic violence as a ‘private’ matter.  But this survey shows that violence and abuse damages both workplaces and families.  We need a concerted conversation about how to reduce the impact of domestic abuse on such a significant section of the population."

The survey was conducted by Leger Marketing in June and July 2019, interviewing 1208 Albertans aged 18 and older who had been employed in the previous two years in Edmonton, Calgary and other areas of the province.

The results show that Albertans understand the effect domestic violence can have on workplaces and employees.  93% of respondents said domestic violence would have a negative impact on productivity, a similarly high number saw the potential for absenteeism (91%), morale (90%) and safety of employees (86%).

Jan Reimer continued,

“People know when they encounter workplace violence and abuse.  But they are not sufficiently supported by clear policies and procedures developed by their employers.  Alongside the human cost to workplace violence, there is also a financial cost, now running at around $100,000 per 100 employees.” 

She continued,

 “Domestic abuse can impact employees in many ways.  We have heard about stalkers using a company vehicle to repeatedly turn up outside a woman’s workplace.  In other cases, abusers have harrassed their ex-partners through phone calls and text messages.  Abusers may also bring their bullying mentality from the home into the workplace and impose it on other employees.  In the most serious situations, abusers have threatened, injured or killed their current or former partner and others in the workplace.”

Respondents also showed limited awareness of the legislative changes to Occupational Health and Safety legislation in 2018 which, for the first time, included sexual and domestic violence as specific workplace hazards.   Only 26% of respondents indicated their employer has in place a separate policy to address and prevent domestic violence.  Only one in five Albertans are aware of the “new rules” about workplace violence.

Jan Reimer observed,

'Employers can take meaningful steps to minimize the safety hazard of domestic abuse on their workplace.  By developing policies and addressing this issue in a systemic way the appropriate hazard minimization steps can make a real difference."

A significant change from the 2009 survey is that respondents also identified a clear need for more involvement of non-profits in helping workplaces to address the challenges of abuse. (87% in 2019, up from 77% in 2009)

Jan Reimer concluded,

“Shelter organizations bring specialized skills and training which can really help shift a workplace culture towards safety for all employees and for women and children facing abuse at home too.”

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Background for Editors
ACWS and Leger Marketing will share results from the survey at an event in Edmonton today.
The full survey is available here.
[Link: https://acws.ca/collaborate-document/3144/view ]

Event details:
Suite 610, 10310 Jasper Avenue, Thursday 17th of October, 2019, 12.15 - 13.00.
Leger was contracted by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters to measure several aspects concerning Violence and the Workplace.
The research builds on the 2009 baseline survey of employed Albertans to understand their experience and perspectives on workplace violence and on domestic violence impacting the workplace. Since 2009, changes in provincial legislation, government and social context have inspired organizations to create training and policies to prevent domestic violence in the workplace.
The $100,000 cost per 100 employees includes an original estimate by Butler Business Research for ACWS of $85,000 (2010) plus inflation based on the Bank of Canada inflation calculator.
For further information please contact Eoin Murray on 780-218-4468

 

Media Release

June 14, 2019

Shelters transforming the lives of seniors

Alberta – Marking World Elder Abuse Day, which takes place on the 15th of June, the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters has today released a snapshot of the extent to which shelters across the province are serving seniors facing abuse.
In 2017/18 shelters across Alberta accommodated 574 people over the age of 55 into emergency and second stage residential programs.  Residential supports also functioned in tandem with community outreach supports:  shelters served 116 people over the age of 55 through outreach initiatives. 


In total 690 people, aged 55+, who faced abuse were supported by shelters province-wide during 2017/18. 
Many shelters in Alberta provide support to people over the age of 55 facing abuse.  ACWS has two member shelters whose sole focus is specialized care for, and support to, seniors: the Kerby Centre Rotary Shelter in Calgary (offering 9 beds) and Sage Seniors Safe House in Edmonton (offering 7 suites). 


Each shelter provides a range of services for seniors including nursing/health care, mental health care, social workers, telephone helplines, online resources and a range of cultural and social activities which allow seniors to flourish as they transition to living in safe homes, free from abuse. 


Keith Callbeck, Senior Manager Marketing and Communications of the Kerby Centre Rotary Shelter said,
“Abuse faced by seniors commonly involves emotional abuse, such as yelling, but it may also involve physical, sexual, spiritual and financial abuse.  Watching for the signs of abuse is an important step in ensuring that abuse is prevented.”


Michele Markham, Manager of Sage Safe House said,


“A vulnerable senior is most often abused by someone they trust: this could be an adult child, another relative or caregiver.  But no matter the circumstances abuse of seniors is never acceptable.”
Jan Reimer, Executive Director of ACWS said,


“Alberta’s seniors deserve to feel safe, secure and loved.  For those facing abuse, there are many excellent supports available.  We know that shelters, and their community support systems, are one of the most effective routes to support someone who wishes to live free from abuse.”
 

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Notes for Editors
World Elder Abuse Day is marked on the 15th of June each year.  This year in Edmonton the Proclamation event for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day will take place on Friday the 14th of June at the Central Lions Seniors Recreation Centre.
https://www.mysage.ca/about-us/news/post/world-elder-abuse-awareness-day-june-14-2019
The ACWS data snapshot is available at this link:
https://acws.ca/collaborate-document/3127/view
For further information or other media requests please contact Eoin Murray, ACWS on 780-218-4468.
Seniors, or those supporting them, can contact The Kerby Centre Rotary Shelter and Sage Seniors Safe House for advice on what to do in the case of suspected elder abuse.
Sage Seniors Safe House Helpline: 780-702-1520
Sage Seniors Safe House website: https://www.mysage.ca/help/seniors-safe-house
The Kerby Centre Helpline: 403-705-3250 
The Kerby Centre website: https://www.kerbycentre.com/general/supportservices/elder-abuse-resource-line/

Media Release

March 21, 2019

Launch of Alberta Kind Campaign.

Edmonton, AB. – A group of agencies focused on providing family and social supports, from a variety of religious backgrounds (and none), will today launch a new campaign calling for Albertans to champion the values of freedom of conscience, fairness and kindness.

The campaign is called ‘Alberta Kind’ and is being launched in immediate response to the shootings in Christchurch as well as the increase in Islamaphobia, anti-semitism and other forms of racism increasingly becoming the norm across society.

 Speaking at the launch today Jan Reimer, Executive Director of the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters will say,

“Intolerance and hatred are on the rise around the world and here in Alberta.  We believe in the fundamental decency of human beings and we want to give people an opportunity to publicly share the values of freedom of conscience, fairness and kindness.”

She will continue,

“Mass shootings in public spaces - along with private violence in the home - share a common root in fear and in the desire to impose power and control over another human being.”

Wati Rahat from Nisa Homes will say,

“Muslim women and children - and all worshippers - have the right to feel secure in their homes and in their mosques.  This campaign will create an opportunity for people to express the value of kindness that is so alive in this province and we call on all Albertans to support it.”

Lubna Zaeem from Islamic Family and Social Services Association will say,

"We are delighted to join with all people who believe in freedom of conscience and the freedom to worship securely to say that in Alberta there is no room for hatred, there is only room for kindness.   The communities we serve will only be strengthened by this act of solidarity.  It is a positive step in the direction of building a world grounded in compassion."

Jan Reimer will conclude,

“Many perpetrators of mass shootings are also found to be engaged in violence and abuse in their home and family relationships.  Violence, abuse and hatred forms part of the spectrum of power and control.  Each one of us has the chance to take small, positive actions which contribute to a more compassionate society where everyone is treated with kindness and respect.”

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Background for Editors

Today an open letter signed by leaders from 10 organizations will be submitted to the Edmonton Journal and Calgary Herald outlining key tenants of the campaign.  The Alberta Kind Campaign has three further components:
Inviting people and organizations to place the ‘Alberta Kind’ frame on their social media profile.  https://twibbon.com/Support/alberta-kind on Friday, one week after the New Zealand shootings.
Inviting people and organizations to sign the open letter. http://ow.ly/ddgG30o7Xaf
Inviting people to translate Alberta Kind into their own language and spread it widely.

For further information please contact Eoin Murray Communications and Partnerships Advisor 780-218-4468

About ACWS:

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports member shelters and works together to end domestic violence and abuse. ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.

About Nisa Homes:

Nisa Homes is the first and only group of safe homes for Muslim women and children in Canada. Launched in early 2016 by the National Zakat Foundation, we currently operate three homes, each in Mississauga, ON, Windsor, ON and Surrey, BC. Since launching, we have sheltered more than 264 women and children and assisted 754 women and children outside of the homes, for two primary reasons, either because our homes were almost always at capacity or because survivors were not ready to leave their abuser but needed safety planning and assistance in order to leave. 

About Islamic Family & Social Services Association

For more than 25 years Islamic family and Social Services Association (IFSSA) has been providing a holistic approach to community wellbeing that is culturally and spiritually sensitive to Muslims, and open to all. IFSSA runs programs that address food security, family violence, refugee sponsorship and settlement, emergency financial relief, preventative youth programming (The Green Room) and more.

Media Release

March 7, 2019

 

Staff in Alberta's Women's Shelters facing stress, long hours and low pay as demand for services rises.

 

Edmonton, AB. – On International Women’s Day the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters would like to honour the bravery of women and children seeking to live violence-free lives and the shelter staff, who work tirelessly - 24/7 - to support them.

Research conducted by ACWS indicates that 94.1% of shelter employees are women.  The fourth ACWS workforce survey examined pay and conditions in member organizations around the province.

The ACWS workforce survey includes data from 34 shelters employing 952 people from each region of the province.  The sheltering organizations, whose operating budgets range from $388,095 to $4.459,301, are primarily funded by the Government of Alberta (73.9% average across all shelters).  Around 70% of shelter budgets go to staff costs.    The survey shows that staff in women’s shelters are paid an average of 20% less than their government counterparts while facing high levels of stress, chronic staff shortages and long hours from shift work. Shelters rely on community support to fundraise remaining costs. 

The survey examines trends in staff salaries and benefits over time, draws comparisons with relevant Government of Alberta staff and examines the nature of employment contracts, working time arrangements and levels of unionization.  Key findings include:

  • Of the 952 employees, 52% are full time (n=549), a decrease from the 2015 survey which showed that 67% of the workforce were full-time.
  • Most shelter staff are employed in emergency shelters (84%) and the remainder in second-stage shelters.
  • Calgary has the largest number of shelter staff (25.1%, n=239), followed by Edmonton (19%, n=181), then Northern Alberta (17.8%, n=169) and Southern Alberta (17.4%, n=166).
  • Shelters experience high turnover rates attributable to high levels of stress and lower pay scales than government employees.  The average turnover rate was calculated at 30.8%, up 1.7% since 2015.
  • However, staff turnover rates in second-stage shelters (28.8%) dropped considerably since 2015 (42.7%), when the provincial government began funding second stage shelters which resulted in new positions and additional program funding increasing overall staff capacity.  This investment has demonstrated the effectiveness of investing in women’s shelters.
  • Shelters indicated that salaries and shift work were the two most significant challenges in recruiting staff while shift work and staff stress were the two largest factors hampering staff retention.
  • Shelter staff were paid 20.8% less than government workers in related positions, on average across Canada.
  • The benefits package of government workers further widens the compensation gap as only around half of shelters are able to contribute to an employee pension or RRSP.

Jan Reimer, Executive Director of Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters remarked, 

“The 24/7 nature of shelter work can place enormous strain on staff, in addition, staff can experience stress or vicarious trauma working with women and children who are themselves traumatized.  Other research shows that shelter staff experience high levels of unhealthy stress during their workday.”

ACWS aggregate data on demand for shelter services shows an ongoing rise in demand.   Reimer observed,

 “Staff are serving higher numbers of women, children and seniors than ever before in shelter and in the community.   Although they provide a vital service in our society - supporting the safety of over ten thousand people each year - this work is not given the value it deserves.”

 Given the pay disparity and the high numbers of women employed in women’s shelters these findings also contribute to our understanding of Alberta’s gender pay gap.  The CCVO Boland survey (Fall, 2018) also identified a significant gender pay gap at senior levels of the not for profit sector.  The Boland Survey revealed significant differences in average salaries between male and female CEOs in organizations with annual operating budgets of less than $1 million (80.0%) and more than $20 million (75.5%), although for the first time since 2015 male CEOs reported a smaller average salary (10% less) than female CEOs in any budget category ($10 to $20 million).

“Alberta has one of the highest gender pay gaps in the country.  Women working in the not for profit sector are already at a financial disadvantage when compared to government employees and even at a disadvantage when compared to other employees doing similar work with similar responsibilities.  Given how much responsibility these women carry this is a situation that needs to be urgently addressed.”

 Reimer continued,

“If we want to end domestic violence and abuse we must invest in those workers who are seeking to solve the problem, ensuring that their salaries aren’t frozen year after year, and cost of living increases are reflected in shelter funding formulas.” 

- 30 –

Background Notes for Editors

 ACWS conducted the research in conjunction with the Edmonton Social Planning Council.  The methodology is rooted in that developed by the Government of Alberta’s Workforce Alliance as well as previous ACWS Workforce Surveys.  

The survey also integrated findings from the Learning from Employees: The Healthy Workplaces 2016 Interim Research Report, (2016) by Barker, T. & Tran, H. which showed that women shelter staff ranked the lowest in their perception of workplace health, job satisfaction and having little or no stress.

The full ACWS report is available only for members of ACWS. 

For further information please contact

Eoin Murray
Communications and Partnerships Advisor
780-218-4468

About ACWS:

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports member shelters and works together to end domestic violence and abuse. ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.

 Media Release

February 21, 2019

Alberta men show an increased understanding of gender equity

Edmonton, AB. – The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) have released its third Men’s Attitude Survey, conducted by Leger Research.  
The survey shows a rise in the general understanding by men of gender equity.  The survey shows that 26% of men have a high gender equity score, as compared to 18% when the first survey was conducted in 2012.
92% of men believe that violence against women and girls is a concern to them.  While many men have witnessed harassment of women just over two-thirds checked to see if the victim was okay, 56% challenged the man engaged in harassment and just 14% reported the incident to the police.     
Speaking at a press conference at the River Cree Resort, Jan Reimer, Executive Director of ACWS, has said,
“Alberta’s men are compassionate, concerned and capable of leading change.  Men increasingly understand the daily discrimination faced by women and want to see a positive shift created across the board for the women and girls in their lives.”
She continued,
"But we need to do more work to empower men to be engaged bystanders, taking positive action to support women and girls facing abuse and harassment. Men want to hear from their fathers and from other men about what they can do.  We know from other research that these messages are most effective when they are rooted in the lived experiences of women and accountable to women's organisations."
The survey also shows that 90% of men believe that domestic abuse can happen in any family.  However, 73% of men found it difficult to understand why women would stay in an abusive relationship. 
Susan Paul, Associate Vice President of Leger Research, 
“This latest survey shows some very positive shifts in men's understanding of abuse.  However, the lack of understanding as to why women would stay in an abusive relationship really stands out as an area where there are opportunities for shifting beliefs.”
Jan Reimer continued,
"Women stay in abusive relationships for many reasons.  The main one is fear for their safety and safety of their children.  The most dangerous time for a woman facing abuse is when she decides to end her relationship because the risk of being murdered escalates dramatically."
Research published last November by ACWS indicates that women are facing the highest risk of being murdered by their intimate partner in seven years.
The survey also shows a significant part of the male population who believe that forced sexual relations do not constitute domestic abuse as well as a worrying number who believe that the threat of violence through yelling does not constitute domestic violence. We need to invest time and effort as a society to explain that abuse takes many forms.   Education about healthy relationships should be as integral a part of the curriculum as is maths, languages and sciences.”
Jan Reimer concluded,
“Investing in community building, grassroots education and campaigns is continuing to pay dividends in Alberta.  We need to harness this positive momentum and focus on expanding into every corner of Albertan society.  We need the support of all sectors of society: government, media and community if we are going to end domestic violence."

Media Release

February 14, 2019

Terry Crews & Leading Change Summit: media access 

Edmonton, AB- ACWS is organizing three media events next week.  Please see below for details of how to participate.

1. Terry Crews Media Availability
Date: Wednesday, 20th of February
Time: Set-up at 5.30 pm, media availability begins at 6.00 pm and ends at 6.30 pm.  All members of the media will need to leave the space immediately as it is reserved for other activities.
Location: Riverview Room, Edmonton Convention Centre
Credentials & access: Access to the Terry Crews media availability is limited.
Please email Eoin Murray with your credential request including name(s) of everyone applying for credentials & their positions, organization, contact details.  The deadline for credential applications is 10.00 am on Tuesday the 19th of February.
Due to contractual restrictions, no recording will be allowed during Terry Crews' public event.  However, a limited number of spaces is available for working journalists who wish to cover the event.  Please e-mail Eoin Murray with details of your request.
Terry Crews is not available for one-on-one interviews during his visit to Edmonton. 

 2. Men's Attitude's Survey
Event details:  ACWS has commissioned our third public opinion poll surveying the attitudes of men across Alberta (see results from previous polls here).  The poll delves into men's attitudes about domestic violence, sexual assault and gender equality.  ACWS will release the survey details on the morning of the 20th of February.  Spokespeople will be available for the media as follows:

Date: Thursday the 21st of February, 2019
Time: 10.15 - 10.45am
Location: Ballroom in the River Cree Hotel & Resort
Speakers: Jan Reimer (ACWS), Susan Paul (Leger Marketing), Dr. Michael Flood (Queensland University of Technology)

3. Leading Change Summit
Event details:  The Leading Change Summit is the first Western Canadian conference on how to prevent violence against women and girls before it even becomes a problem (primary prevention of gender-based violence).  Almost 200 experts in primary prevention from across Canada will attend and host sessions on a range of topics.
Date & Time:
Tuesday, 19th of February, 6:00 pm-8:30 pm
Wednesday, 20th of February, 8:30 am-4:15 pm
Thursday, 21st of February, 8:30 am-4:30 pm 
Location: River Cree Resort


Some session highlights:


News & Entertainment
#IBelieveYou, Now What? - Debra Tomlinson (AASAS)
Is pornography preventable?: Dr.  Michael Flood & Terry Crews (no AV recording permitted)
Social Marketing for Raising Awareness of GBV: Makarand Gulawani (MacEwan)
Power-ups:  Using Video Games as Violence Prevention Training Tools: Kenzie Gordon (U of A)
Removing the burden of social education on survivors: Kiray Jones-Mollerup (Elizabeth Fry Society)
Social Advocacy in Social Justice Movements: Wisdom to Keep the Fire Burning: Sylvia McAdam (Idle No More)

Sports
Locker-room talk: supporting athletes and sports cultures to be areas for prevention: Tuval Nafshi & Keon Raymond (ACWS)

Business
Domestic violence in the workplace: Christie Lavan & Astrid Mithcell (ACWS)
The Law as Deterrent: Jennifer Koshan (U of C)
Members of the media are invited to attend and report on the Summit or on specific sessions.  A detailed list of sessions is available here. To apply for media credentials please email Eoin Murray.  Interview requests for keynote speakers including Jan Reimer, Dr. Michael Flood and Sylvia McAdam should be made directly through ACWS.

Contact details for further information

Eoin Murray
eoin.murray@acws.ca
Communications & Partnerships Advisor
780-218-4468

 

Media Release

February 7, 2019

Acws & partners gather for 'Edmonton 99' photo opportunity.

Edmonton, AB- Photo-call.
Monday, 11th of February, noon.
Location: Kingsway Mall

Please meet at the Customer Service Desk to be re-directed to the photo-shoot location.

 12:00pm – 12:15 pm

Participants:

David Shepherd MLA,  Jan Reimer (ACWS),  Mona Gill (Edmonton Police Service), Shawn French & Collette Zazulak (RCMP), Gil McGowan (AFL), Greg Burns (Kingsway Mall), Terry Crews (life-size cut-out only!)

Celebrate the imminent arrival of Terry Crews to Edmonton.

This photo-shoot will involve ACWS and friends from the business, trade union and law enforcement communities who are champions in the work to end domestic violence.

The photo-shoot will re-create a version of the well-known image from the TV show 'Brooklyn 99' during which participants run through a yellow crime scene tape. (see sample below)

Terry Crews is visiting Edmonton on Wednesday the 20th to participate in the Leading Change Summit which is the first Western Canadian conference on gender-based violence prevention.  He will also be delivering a public keynote address in the Edmonton Convention Centre. 

For further information please contact:

Eoin Murray

Communications and Partnerships Advisor

eoin.murray@acws.ca

780-218-4468

About ACWS:

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports member shelters and works together to end domestic violence and abuse. ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.

 

Media Release
December 12, 2018

 

Alberta Council of Women's Shelters Announces Terry Crews as Special Guest Speaker
 

EDMONTON, AB - Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) is excited to announce a special guest speaker, Terry Crews.  Mr Crews is an actor, activist and former NFL player. He will speak at a public event at the Shaw Conference Centre on February 20th, 2019.  

Mr. Crews is one of the “silence breakers" of the #MeToo movement and a 2017 TIME Magazine Person of the Year. He is using his platform as a Hollywood heavyweight to speak up about the role that men play in creating a safer world for women and girls.  

Mr. Crews' story is one of triumph and transformation. Having overcome a traumatic childhood and having to confront many personal and professional challenges, he speaks about his experiences and inspires audiences to overcome fear, be honest, do the work and live life to its highest potential. 

"Men and boys play a unique role in the prevention of violence against women and Terry Crews is on a mission to challenge modern day masculinity and what manhood really means”, says Christie Lavan, Program Developer at the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters. “He is the perfect person to lead us in a bold conversation about how each one of us plays our part in creating safer communities and ultimately a better world."  

In a video released in advance of his Edmonton visit, Mr. Crews said, "I've been sharing my story and talking to people all over the world about what it means to be a man, and how we can change things for ourselves and for the women and girls we care about.  Learning about this has changed my life for the better.  Now is the time for men, young and old to define for themselves what being a man is all about." 

All proceeds from this memorable event will support programs and services of the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters.   
 

For further information please contact:
Eoin Murray
Communications and Partnerships Advisor
eoin.murray@acws.ca
780-218-4468

Notes for editors: 

Terry Crews will be at the Shaw Conference Centre on the evening of Wednesday 20th of February, 2019, program begins at 7pm.  Tickets cost $95 or $75.   Tickets are available here .

http://bit.ly/terrycrews-edmonton

A video of Terry Crews speaking about his upcoming visit is available here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJO7ubpx3_8

ACWS is hosting the inaugural Leading Change Summit at the River Cree Resort on February 19th, 20th and 21st.  The Summit will see professionals in the field of gender-based violence prevention from across Canada and around the world visit Edmonton for workshops and presentations.  Terry Crews will be hosting a workshop as part of the Summit on Wednesday the 20th of February.  Conference tickets and information are available here

Sponsorship opportunities are still available.  

 

Media Release
November 27, 2018
 

Women's shelters support increasing numbers facing risk of being murdered by their partner.


Edmonton, AB- Announcing their annual statistics on shelter usage in the past year the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters will today highlight that women entering shelters are facing an increasing risk of being murdered by an intimate partner. In 2011/12 just over half (54%) of women faced severe or extreme danger.  Last year almost two-thirds (64.8%) were in this category. The move into severe and extreme danger categories indicates that, among other factors, more women are being threatened with a gun or subjected to strangulation.

Speaking today Jan Reimer will say,

"Any rise in the numbers of women facing severe or extreme danger of being murdered by their intimate partner is extremely worrying.  We urgently need to address this issue as a society through more effective gun control as well as ensuring shelters have the resources to support women through the provision of accommodation, safety planning and community outreach.  Shelters have faced an increase in crisis calls and have reached maximum caseload capacity in the delivery of outreach supports.'

 ACWS data indicates that crisis calls to shelters have jumped 10% since 2015/16 (from 52,562) to 58,117 in 2017/18 while shelters supported 6,408 people through outreach in 2017/18.  Shelters also accommodated 10,390 women, children and seniors in 2017/18, bringing the total number of women, children and seniors accommodated since 2015 to 30,987.

Jan Reimer will continue,

'Shelters are doing remarkable work to transform the lives of those they support and care for.  Across the province they are supporting women, children and seniors to stay safe, move on from abusive relationships and begin new lives where they can make a valuable contribution to our society.'

In second-stage shelters ACWS data indicates that 9% of women were living in stable housing upon entering these long-term apartment-style residencies. Upon completion of follow-up surveys (after women had left second-stage shelter) 68% of them were in safe, stable housing.

 ACWS data also includes a specific focus on the impact of domestic violence on children.  In the past three years Alberta’s shelters served 18,136 children in shelter and through outreach programs.  490 shelter staff, staff from other community organizations and organizations including the RCMP and local police services have participated in a variety of training courses directly relating to supporting children.  The ACWS Leading Change Call to Action which works closely with the Grey Cup-winning Calgary Stampeders and other sports organizations like Hockey Alberta reached 8,879 Junior High & High School students between 2016/18.

'We know that effective, early interventions to support traumatized children can make an impact in supporting those children to develop healthy brains and engage in healthy relationships as they grow older.  But if we want to prevent this ongoing crisis in violence and abuse from drowning the next generation we need to increase our investment significantly, knowing that it will pay-off in the long-term.'

The ACWS data-launch is taking place at PolicyWise for Children and Families.  Robyn Blackadar, President and CEO of PolicyWise will say,

 'Data-informed practice is the backbone of improving services to those who need it most while also ensuring accountability to those who support them.  The evidence shows that women, children and seniors across Alberta are still in need of significant support from shelters to help keep them safe.'

 Media event.
Tuesday, 27th of November, 11.00 am
Location: PolicyWise for Children & Families
1000, 9925-109 Street
Edmonton, AB.


11:00am – 11:20 am

Speakers:
Robyn Blackadar, President & CEO, PolicyWise for Children & Families
Jan Reimer, Executive Director Alberta Council of Women's Shelters

 

11:20 am

Opportunity for one-on-one media interviews

Note for editors

The ACWS Annual Data release includes data collected by ACWS members and analysed by members and ACWS staff.  It illustrates the key trends in shelters serving women, children and seniors throughout the province.  Data is used to improve services and increase accountability.  This year's data release is available on the ACWS website, in pdf format. 

  

For further information please contact:

Eoin Murray
Communications and Partnerships Advisor
eoin.murray@acws.ca
780-218-4468

About ACWS:

Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports member shelters and works together to end domestic violence and abuse. ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.

 

Media Release
November 20, 2018

 

ACWS Breakfast with the Guys

 

Wednesday, 21st of November, 2018.
Ballroom, Chateau Lacombe hotel.
Edmonton AB.
6:50am (doors open) – 8:30am

Speakers:

Jan Reimer, ACWS
Dr. Joy Johnson-Green, Sonshine House shelter
Rick Campbell, Head Coach Ottawa Redblacks
J.R. La Rose, former Grey Cup winner
Keon Raymond, former Calgary Stampeder
Zac Chomchuk, Edmonton Wildcats
Gianmarco Visconti, poet

Followed by the opportunity for one-on-one media interviews.

Join over 200 leaders in business, government and the non-profit sector for the annual ACWS Breakfast with the Guys.  This year's theme is #MyActionsMatter where speakers will address how their actions have made a difference in the lives of women, children and seniors facing violence and abuse.

 -30-

For further information please contact:

Eoin Murray
Communications and Partnerships Advisor
eoin.murray@acws.ca
780-218-4468 

About ACWS:
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports member shelters and works together to end domestic violence and abuse. ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.

The 2018 Breakfast with the Guys is co-sponsored by CN Rail, Status of Women Canada and media sponsor Global Edmonton.

 

Media Release

November 16, 2018

Organizations Call for a Safe Grey Cup for Everyone.


 Media event.
Sunday, 18th of September
River Valley room, Chateau Lacombe hotel
.
Edmonton AB.

11:00am – 11:30am 
Speakers:
Leslie Allen, CEO, YWCA Edmonton
Mary Jane James, Executive Director, Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE)
Jan Reimer, Executive Director, ACWS

11:30 am
Opportunity for one-on-one media interviews

 
One week before the Grey Cup final organizations working for an end to domestic abuse and sexual violence are joining together to call for patrons at the festival to have an enjoyable and safe time.

-30-

For further information please contact:

Eoin Murray
Communications and Partnerships Advisor

eoin.murray@acws.ca
780-218-4468

About ACWS:
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports member shelters and works together to end domestic violence and abuse. ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.
ACWS Charitable Registration: #118780634RR0001

About SACE

The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) is a not-for-profit agency that has been in operation since 1975. SACE provides support for people who experience sexual violence through crisis support, counselling, court support, and advocacy, and fosters prevention of sexual violence through direct public education and advisory consultation with groups and agencies undertaking their own prevention efforts. SACE believes that everyone is deserving of healing and support, and provides all services at no fee. For more information on SACE, please visit www.sace.ca or call 780.423.4102.

About YWCA Edmonton:
YWCA Edmonton is a member of YWCA Canada, the oldest and largest women’s social service organization in the nation.  Founded in 1907, YWCA is a women’s organization that advances the wellness and growth of women, girls, and families. We provide education and services to thousands every year through leadership programs, counseling, outdoor education, and supporting people with disabilities.  More information is available here.

Media Release
October 24, 2018

Edmonton Women Gather to give Gifts of Hope 

 EDMONTON, AB-- This evening women from across the city gather for the 5th annual Gifts of Hope event. The event is a fundraiser in support of the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS). 

Jan Reimer, Executive Director of ACWS said, "I am grateful to the Gifts of Hope committee for all of their hard work. This event has become a major fundraiser and has helped draw attention to the important work shelters do in the community in addressing violence against women." 

The evening's event will feature Pat Vargas, Director of Child, Family and Community Services for Catholic Social Services, who will speak about women's rights, equality and the right to safety for all people. Pat sits on the executive board of the Global Network of Women's Shelters and has been identified as an expert in providing services to Victims of Human Trafficking. 

Director of Member Services for the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters, Ian Wheeliker will be sharing his personal story working with perpetrators and victims of domestic and sexual violence for 29 years. Ian has worked on the Nova Scotia Government's FrameWork for Action on Family Violence and has developed a particular interest on the effects of violence on children.

The evening’s event will feature an amazing Silent Auction featuring over 80 items, musical performances from dynamic duo Laura Bachynski and Paula Drew, and a local String Quartet: Carol Sperling, Jou Hsing, Joanna Parlee, Valerie Sima. For $10 guests will have the chance to win either a $600 gift certificate for Andy's IGA or an incredible trip for two to Osoyoos, BC which includes golf, spa services and a $100 gift card to Campo Marina restaurant. 

About:
The Gifts of Hope event is an annual fundraiser in support of the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters. The event is hosted by a team of dedicated community leaders whose vision is to inspire others to become agents of change in their community and to create hope for those experiencing domestic abuse.


Web Links:


ACWS Background:
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports 38 member shelters across Alberta and works together to end domestic violence and abuse. ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.
 
ACWS Charitable Registration: #118780634RR0001
 

ACWS Media contact:
Eoin Murray
Communications Advisor
Email: eoin.murray@acws.ca
Cell: 780-218-4468
 
 
Twitter:
@womenshelter
#GiftsOfHope
#VAW
#ACWS

 

 

Media Release

September 21st, 2018


Camrose Women's Shelter staff member wins the provincial award for excellence. 

 

Marilyn Johnston, a Crisis Intervention Worker, won the 2018 Joie Dery Award for excellence in shelter work.


Edmonton, AB -  At an award ceremony held in Edmonton the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS) announced that Marilyn Johnston was the winner of the 2018 Joie Dery Award.

The award celebrates excellence in shelter work and is named in honour of Joie Dery (see note below).

Jan Reimer Executive Director of ACWS said,

"Marilyn Johnston is a shining example of what it is to be a shelter staff member.  She is dedicated, compassionate and brings humour to every challenge she faces in the shelter.  We are proud to add her to the roster of wonderful staff across the province who have won this award."

Nora-Lee Rear, the Executive Director of Camrose Women's Shelter, said

"Marilyn has been with the shelter for the past 10 years. During that time she has served as a role model for the children and women she works with by sharing her love for family."

She continued,

"
Marilyn would rather go unnoticed and work from behind the scenes, so this acknowledgment of her dedication to shelter work and her co-workers is far overdue."
 
 
Jan Reimer continued,

"Shelter staff work in stressful conditions dealing with difficult issues.  Ensuring that staff are supported to deal with these conditions helps to create better outcomes for women and children.  Having someone like Marilyn on staff is an enormous asset to women and children facing abuse and to the community of Camrose.  We congratulate her on the occasion of this award and wish her well in her continued service and dedication to women's shelters."

About the Joie Dery award

The Joie Dery Award is given annually by the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters to a shelter worker for excellence.  It is named in honour of Joie Dery a former shelter worker who committed herself to social justice for abused women in the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre in Cold Lake and a former President of ACWS. she was renowned for her renowned for her strong sense of social justice coupled with a wonderful sense of humour which she brought to every aspect of her work and life.

The final selection of the award winner is made by ACWS staff, Board and members of Joie Dery's family.

A photograph of the Award winner is available via Dropbox here.
Caption: Jan Reimer, (Executive Director ACWS), Judilonne Beebe (Board Treasurer of Camrose Women's Shelter Society), Marilyn Johnston (Camrose Women's Shelter Society/Winner of the 2018 Joie Dery Award), Nora-Lee Rear (Executive Director Camrose Women's Shelter Society), Brenda Rebman (Board President ACWS).

About ACWS
ACWS is the provincial network organization for women's shelters with members across the province providing both Emergency and second-stage (long-term) shelter for women, children and seniors facing abuse.

About Camrose Women's Shelter
The Camrose Women's Shelter  is a 22 bed emergency shelter serving Camrose and the surrounding rural areas. The 24 hour crisis line and outreach program supports women and their families during periods of crisis, assists with personal safety planning, and makes referrals to other agencies. The Outreach program supports families from the shelter as well as community members who do not want to come to the shelter. Further information about programs and services can be reached at 780-672-1035. 

 

 

Child trauma-recovery requires safety, support & love. 

 

Shelter staff from across Alberta receive training on the science of trauma intervention. 

July 10th, 2018

Edmonton, AB -  The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS) today welcomed 45 shelter staff from central and northern Alberta to a two-day training event on the science and practice of trauma recovery.*  The newly updated 'Children's Curriculum' was developed to support staff in women's shelters.  Shelter staff provide loving care to children and mothers who have experienced the trauma of domestic violence and may also have experienced other traumatic events including war, forced migration or the impact of colonial policies.

In recent years the scientific understanding of brain development and traumatic events has grown exponentially to demonstrate both the impact of trauma on the developing brain but also the possibility of recovery. 

Speaking today Ian Wheeliker, ACWS Director of Programs will say,

"Brain development of children who face abuse, or have witnessed the abuse of their mother, may be adversely impacted, contributing to educational, social and health challenges throughout their lifetime."

He will continue,

"Interventions provided by women's shelters can help mitigate the impact of trauma on children.  Shelters provide a safe, loving and supportive environment for children and their mothers.  Shelter staff support mothers to better understand the impact of trauma on their children.  Children and mothers both develop strategies and skills to support their healing journey." 

This training provides shelter child care staff with information on the most recent scientific developments and practical tools for them to use with children and mothers.  

Around 5,000 children enter women's shelter every year, most of them under the age of 8.  Shelters offer a range of supports that may include child care, mother-child support groups, play therapy and trauma-informed playrooms.  Children have also benefited from the Government of Alberta's 2015 injection of $15 million which included limited support for trauma-informed children's programming.  

Ian Wheeliker will conclude,

"A significant new investment is required to meet the extremely high demand for services, including funds earmarked for child-trauma intervention.  Such an investment will create enormous long-term benefits in our health and education systems.  Such an investment will ensure shelters can create safe spaces for mothers and children to heal together."

For further information please contact:
Eoin Murray
Communications & Partnerships Advisor
780-218-4468


Notes for Editors

The new children's curriculum was commissioned by ACWS and developed by Dr. Dawn Clark, Director of the Centre for Child Well-Being in Mount Royal University.  Funding was provided by the Government of Alberta and by a grant from the IODE.

* Shelters from northern and central Alberta will participate in the Edmonton training on July 10th and 11th.  Shelter staff from southern Alberta will participate in training in Calgary on July 17th and 18th.

ACWS has developed an Inventory of Promising Practices on protection and support for children exposed to domestic violence freely available to service providers.

The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters includes 35 member organizations from throughout the province providing both emergency and second-stage (long-term) care for women, children and seniors facing abuse.

ACWS Charitable registration: #118780634RR0001 



Media Release

May 31st, 2018

New OH&S legislation supports safer workplaces and points to better supports for survivors of domestic violence.

ACWS welcomes the inclusion of domestic violence in new Bill which comes in to effect June 1st.

 

Edmonton, AB -  Today, the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS)  welcomed Bill 30 which comes into effect on the 1st of June, 2018, as the Act to Protect the Health and Wellbeing of Working Albertans.  The Act, upgrading the Occupational Health & Safety Act, now specifically identifies domestic violence as a workplace hazard which all employers need to account for.  

Christie Lavan, the ACWS Leading Change Program Developer said,

"This is the first time the legislation has included domestic and sexual violence in the definition of workplace violence.  Given the high demands shelters face, and the prevalence of domestic violence in Alberta, we know this is already impacting business.   The impact can range from a co-worker being distracted because of what they are dealing with at home, up to and including, an estranged spouse stalking their ex-partner at the office with a weapon. "

The ACWS Leading Change Program trains and provides consultations for business, government and non-profits about the impact of domestic violence on the workplace.  The training offers support to employers seeking to comply with their due diligence obligations under the legislation.  It also helps employers and employees recognize the signs of domestic violence and offer appropriate support to co-workers living with it. 

Lavan observed,

"Intimate partner violence can easily arrive at the door of any workplace.  Some Alberta employers have taken important steps to ensure the safety of their workplaces because they know that a prepared workplace is a safer workplace." 

 

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For further information please contact:

Eoin Murray
Communications & Partnerships Advisor
780-218-4468


Note for Editors


About the Act to Protect the Health and Wellbeing of Working Albertans
The Act comes in to force on June 1st.  It defines workplace violence, whether at a work site or work-related, as "the threatened, attempted or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause physical or psychological injury or harm, and includes domestic or sexual violence." 
 

Leading Change is the ACWS Call to Action to prevent and end Violence Against Women.  

Since 2007 Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS) has developed and offered Domestic Violence in Your Workplace Training for a variety of clients: schools, businesses, government, non-profits and communities.  Past clients include the City of Edmonton, Syncrude, Enbridge, Bee Clean, Concordia University of Edmonton and Liquor World.  An independent study commissioned by ACWS showed that domestic violence costs an average of $85,000 per 100 employees [Butler Business Solutions Ltd. (July 2010) “Final Report”.]


The  ACWS' Leading Change program is partially funded by the Government of Alberta.

 

Media release

May 23rd, 2018

National Summit on Gender-Based Violence Prevention to be held in Alberta.

ACWS Leading Change Summit 2019: 

 

Bold conversations to end gender-based violence in a changing world.
 
Edmonton, AB -  Today, the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS)  announced the dates and one of the keynote speakers for a national conference about primary prevention of Gender-Based Violence.

The Leading Change Summit will take place in River Cree Resort from the 19th to the 21st of February, 2019.  The summit will serve as a focal point for experts, practitioners and activists concerned about preventing gender-based violence and abuse. 

ACWS is honoured to announce that Dr. Michael Flood of Queensland University of Technology in Australia will be one of the keynote speakers at the summit.

Dr. Flood is an internationally recognized researcher on men, masculinities and violence prevention.  His research covers topics including the impact of pornography on young people, particularly boys, sex education policy and the role of men's rights groups in alienating men. 

Christie Lavan, the ACWS Leading Change Program Developer said,

"Dr. Flood brings a researched, evidence-based understanding of the violent consequences women face because of pornography and our society's endorsement of unhealthy models of masculinity and  sexuality."

Lavan observed,

"As the #MeToo movement unveils the extent of male violence against women we must consider how to lead a shift in our media, our workplaces, our classrooms and our homes to foster safe and loving environments for women and girls, men and boys."

The ACWS Leading Change summit is an opportunity for anyone concerned about eliminating gender-based violence and abuse to hold bold conversations and generate creative solutions.  It will also showcase the remarkable primary prevention work happening and include public sessions for those who would like to learn more about the issue.  Regular updates will be posted on the conference webpage.
 
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For further information please contact:

Eoin Murray
Communications & Partnerships Advisor
780-218-4468


Note for Editors

 

Leading Change is the ACWS Call to Action to prevent and end Violence Against Women.  It is founded on the belief that we need everyone, people of all genders, young and old, rural and urban, to be involved in changing the social and cultural norms that underpin the epidemic of gender-based violence in our communities. 

Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS) offers gender-based violence prevention training for a variety of clients: schools, businesses, government, non-profits and communities. Our training invites people to look at how they can make a lasting contribution to end violence against women.  We aim to catalyze audiences into action, providing the knowledge and tools to intervene against sexism and abuse day to day. 

ACWS' Leading Change program is partially funded by the Government of Alberta.
 

Further details about Leading Change.

About Dr. Michael Flood
 
Dr. Michael Flood is an Associate Professor in Sociology at the Queensland University of Technology, internationally recognized for his research on men, masculinities and violence prevention.  He has published widely on the primary prevention of violence against women, men and gender, heterosexuality and pornography.  He runs a blog focused on these issues called XYonline.  
 
 

Press release: 

 

Minister Ganley launches ACWS online toolkit to help end domestic violence.

 

Media Advisory

Edmonton, AB. - Friday, 11th of May the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters will launch a new online Inventory of Promising Practices showcasing work by organisations across the province working to end domestic violence and abuse.

The Inventory is an online resource detailing many of the most effective methods developed by community organizations and government agencies which can support women and children facing domestic violence.  The Inventory includes practices across seven core areas, including the justice system, child welfare, safety planning, culturally-appropriate service provision, violence prevention and violence & trauma-informed service provision, and creating cross-sectoral collaboration.

The toolkit can be used by both individuals and organizations to enhance their work in support of women and children facing domestic violence.

The Inventory was developed after input and consultation with 298 service providers in 7 consultation meetings Province-wide, interviews with 75 survivors of domestic violence combined with an extensive review of international and Canadian academic literature.  Service providers nominated their own promising practices to be shared with other organizations.

Speaking at the launch Carolyn Goard, ACWS Director of Member Services will say,

'Women and children facing domestic abuse need safety, shelter and specialized-supports.  We must place them at the heart of service-provision, grounded in partnership between community organizations and government agencies.  This toolkit will allow organizations to build collaboration around promising practices they believe will help ensure the safety of women and children.'

Alberta Minister for Justice and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley will say,

'Our government is committed to improving outcomes for survivors by supporting initiatives like this one.  I commend the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters for building this online inventory.  It will be a source of valuable, up-to-date information for the organizations working to keep women and children safe from domestic violence.'

RCMP A/Commissioner John Ferguson will say,

'The RCMP is often the first responder to a domestic violence situation.  Many of our members have seen these situations unfold first-hand.  We know there is no single cause of abuse and no single agency can solve the problem.  The collaboration to create this Inventory indicates the significance of every agency being involved.'

Carolyn Goard will conclude,

'The Inventory of Promising Practices includes key areas of service-provision in which it is essential to support women and create collaboration.  The evidence is clear when we do this we can dramatically improve the outcomes for women and their children so they can live in safety and dignity.'

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Launch event.
May 11, 2018  -  
10 to 11 a.m.
RCMP, K-Division Headquarters
11140 109 Street NW
Edmonton, AB

Speakers: 

Hon. Kathleen Ganley
Alberta Minister of Justice & Solicitor General
Randy Boissoinault M.P., video-greetings  
John FergusonRCMP Assistant Commissioner
Carolyn GoardACWS Director of Member Programs & Services

Alberta Council of Women's Shelters is launching a new Inventory of Promising Practices, developed as part of the Safety from Domestic Violenceproject. This inventory represents the culmination of extensive consultation and research into the supports and barriers facing women and children fleeing domestic abuse in Alberta.  ACWS has not evaluated the practices in the toolkit, which is designed for information sharing.

About the project:
Following a two-year research process with ACWS members, survivors, service providers, government, law enforcement and leading experts in the field of domestic violence prevention, ACWS has developed a practical inventory of evidence-based actions we can take as a community to enhance safety for survivors of domestic violence.

The Inventory of Promising Practices will function as an interactive online tool that (1) service providers can use to improve the safety of women fleeing abuse, (2) survivors can use to understand the resources available in Alberta, and (3) funders can use to assess proposals.

 

For further information please contact:

Eoin Murray
Communications and Partnerships Advisor

eoin.murray@acws.ca
780-218-4468

About ACWS:
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports member shelters and works together to end domestic violence and abuse. ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.

The Safety from Domestic Violence project is funded by Alberta Justice & Solicitor General and Status of Women Canada.
 
ACWS Charitable Registration: #118780634RR0001

April 12, 2018


 
International Domestic Violence expert in Edmonton to train AB shelter staff

 

EVENT:
Danger Assessment Training with Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell 
   

Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell of Johns Hopkins University will be in Edmonton on April 19-20, 2018 to provide women's shelters and community partners with updated Danger Assessment (DA) training.

Dr. Campbell will deliver a keynote address focusing on:

- the use of the DA in Alberta and around the world;
- the use of the DA as a tool for enhancing safety from domestic violence;
- the use of the tool in immigrant communities and among women in same-sex relationships.

The Danger Assessment (DA) is a tool for determining a woman's risk of being killed by her intimate partner, originally developed by Dr. Jacqueline Campbell. The tool has been widely tested and modified, including here in Alberta.


WHO:             
Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell is the Anna D. Wolf Chair in Johns Hopkins University. She is a renowned leader in research and advocacy on domestic violence. She has authored or co-authored more than 230 publications and seven books on violence and health outcomes. Her full bio is available here.

Alberta Council of Women's Shelters is hosting the event, providing free training and certification for member shelters. 


WHEN (Media Availability):           
April 19, 2017
Dr. Campbell's Keynote: 8:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. 
Media availability: Jan Reimer (ACWS) & Dr. Campbell will be available for interviews at 10:45 a.m.
 
WHERE:         
Chateau Lacombe
10111 Bellamy Hill Rd NW 
Edmonton, AB T5J 1N7
Main floor Salon C

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For further information please contact:

Eoin Murray
Communications and Partnerships Advisor
eoin.murray@acws.ca
780-218-4468


About ACWS:
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports member shelters and works together to end domestic violence and abuse. ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.
 
ACWS Charitable Registration: #118780634RR0001

Danger Assessment: 

 

The Danger Assessment helps to determine the level of danger an abused woman has of being killed by her intimate partner. It is free and available to the public. Every year 3-4 million women in the U.S. are abused and 1,500-1,600 are killed by their abusers. The challenge for those who encounter abused women is to identify those with the highest level of danger. For 25 years, the Danger Assessment Instrument has been used by law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and domestic violence advocates. 
More details here.

Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell:
Access full biography from Johns Hopkins University

 

 

Press Release
December 7th, 2017.

Provincial funding helps women change their lives.
 
Release of annual shelter statistics shows that the number of women and children entering shelter remained at a constant. Shelter outreach services supported 45% more people than in the previous year.  
 
Edmonton, AB. – The release of the 2016-17 aggregate statistics by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters shows the impact of the 2015 investment in funds by the Provincial government.
 
Almost ten thousand were accommodated in emergency, seniors' or second stage shelters.  Shelter outreach services served an additional 6,147 women and children, an increase in 45% from the previous year.
 
Speaking on release of the statistics ACWS Executive Director Jan Reimer said,
 
“Thanks to the 2015 injection of funds from the Provincial government shelters have been able to hire more staff to cope with the overwhelming demand for services.  These statistics bear out the reality that when funded shelters can have an enormous impact on the lives of those who are in unsafe relationships.”
 
She continued,
 
“Extending outreach into the community allows shelters to meet women where they need support.”
 
Reimer noted,
 
“But the reality remains: emergency shelters are still often full, 13,236 women and children were forced to make the unpalatable choice of returning to their abusive partner or becoming homeless simply due to lack of capacity in the system.  A further 9038 women and children could not access emergency shelter services for other reasons.”  
 
Indigenous women make up more than half of shelter admissions (55%) reflecting the particular risks they face. 
 
Jan Reimer said,
 
“The disparity in funding for on-reserve shelters remains a massive problem.  The Federal government committed to providing equivalent services for on-reserve shelters as the Province provides for off-reserve shelters.   Bridging this gap is essential to reducing the risks faced by Indigenous women.”
 
Reimer concluded,
 
“Shelters continue to help women transform their lives.  We hope that the Provincial government will extend and elevate its commitment to all women’s shelters.  We also hope that the public at large will choose to give generously to Alberta’s sheltering organisations this holiday season.”
 

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Media availability

Shelter Directors from across Alberta are meeting in Edmonton on Friday, December 8th.
Jan Reimer from ACWS and shelter directors will be available for media comment at 10.15 am in the offices of ACWS, 600 10310 Jasper Avenue, Edmonton.

Media inquiries may be directed through ACWS or through local shelters.  A list of Alberta shelters is available here.

ACWS Media contact: 
Eoin Murray
Communications Advisor
Email: eoin.murray@acws.ca
Cell: 780-218-4468
  
ACWS Background
 
The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters serves 41 member shelters throughout the Province working together for a world free from violence and abuse.   ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.
 
ACWS Charitable Registration: #118780634RR0001
 
In September 2015 the Provincial Government announced a $15m injection of funds to Alberta’s shelters.  This is the first release of ACWS annual aggregate statistics to show the impact of the funding.
 
A downloadable copy of the Annual Data report is available on the ACWS website, here.

Twitter: 
@womenshelter

#16Days

 

Media Advisory
November 27th, 2017

A Better Man - movie screening

Dec 4, 2017 at the Metro Cinema
7 p.m. showing
FREE

 


Press Kit for A Better Man
Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS) in partnership with the City of Edmonton's Gender-Based Violence & Sexual Assualt Council Initiative is hosting a free screening of A Better Manat the Metro Cinema in Edmonton on December 4th, 2017 at 7 p.m. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with co-director, Attia Khan. 

Khan explains, "A Better Man documents a personal experiment for me and my abusive ex-partner -- a step towards understanding and accountability. By getting closer to the truth of what survivors experience, and of why men choose to use violence, we can help stop the abuse."

A Better Man offers a nuanced look at the healing and revelation that can happen for everyone involved when men take responsibility for their abuse. The film empowers audience members to play new roles in challenging domestic violence, whether in their own relationships or as part of a broader movement for social change. 

The film has been selected for multiple festivals (see press kit below) and the event is sponsored by the National Film Board of Canada

Free tickets are available through Eventbrite.

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Media Contact: 
Eoin Murray
Communications and Relationship Adviser
eoin.murray@acws.ca
780-218-4468

 

About Alberta Council of Women's Shelters: 
Incorporated in 1983 Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports 41 members operating 51 shelters across the province, working together for a world free from violence and abuse. 

ACWS Charitable Registration: #118780634RR0001

 

 

Media Release
November 21, 2017

Male leaders call for an end to domestic violence


Edmonton, AB-- Male leaders from business, government and the non-profit world are gathering in Edmonton tomorrow morning to call for an end to domestic violence.

The 12th annual ACWS Breakfast with the Guys event is taking place in the Chateau Lacombe from 6:45-8.30am on Wednesday the 22nd of November.

Speaking at the Breakfast Jan Reimer, Executive Director of the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters will say,

“More than 5,000 women entered Edmonton’s shelters in the last fiscal year.  These women faced a range of abusive behaviours including sexual assault, physical assault, emotional and financial abuse.”

Jan Reimer continued,

“Breakfast with the Guys is an opportunity for the ‘good guys’ to come together and make a clear statement in opposition to our society’s degradation of women.  It is so important that they do this to counteract the news we hear every day  of men engaging in  domestic violence and sexual assault.  At this year’s Breakfast speakers will talk about how it feels to respond to domestic violence in a range of situations, including in women’s shelters, as a family doctor and as survivors.”

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Breakfast with the Guys Details and Background: 

The Breakfast with the Guys is an annual event organised by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters.  This year over 200 women and men leaders will gather to discuss the theme of ‘How Does it Feel?’  Emcee for the event will be Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, Sarah Hoffman.

Other speakers will touch on how it feels to confront domestic violence in a range of situations:

  • Pat Vargas, Executive Director of A Safe Place women’s shelter in Sherwood Park.
  • Dr. Suzanne Squires, Westview PCN & Westgrove Clinic
  • Maria Fitzpatrick, MLA
  • Keon Raymond, ACWS Leading Change trainer/VP of the CFL Players Association and 2-time Grey Cup winner with the Calgary Stampeders.
  • Tuval Nafshi, ACWS Leading Change Community Developer
  
ACWS Background:
Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) supports 41 member shelters across Alberta and works together to end domestic violence and abuse. ACWS was incorporated in 1983 and is a registered charity.
 
ACWS Charitable Registration: #118780634RR0001
 

ACWS Media contact: 
Eoin Murray
Communications Advisor
Email: eoin.murray@acws.ca
Cell: 780-218-4468
 
 
Twitter: 
@womenshelter
#BWG
#VAW
#ACWS
#yeg