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‘No one needs to stand alone’: Strathcona County white ribbon campaign tackles domestic violence

A woman puts on a white ribbon during an anti-violence against women event.
A woman puts on a white ribbon during an anti-violence against women event. Ryan Remiorz / The Canadian Press

EDMONTON – It may happen behind closed doors. But it isn’t private.

“Family violence is not a private matter. It affects us all,” said Strathcona Mayor Roxanne Carr.

“We, as a community, feel the pain and grief that surrounds this violence. However, more than ever, we stand together as a community to support each other while working in our neighbourhoods, municipality and across the province to stop family violence.”

READ MORE: Why Canada still has a long way to go in tackling domestic abuse 

Strathcona County residents are being asked to take a stand against family violence by participating in the White Ribbon Campaign.

Last year, 714 people reported domestic violence in Strathcona County, according on the county.

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According to Statistics Canada, 68 people were killed by their partners in 2014. Most of the victims were women.

Last month, that death toll was brought home when Strathcona County RCMP charged 58-year-old Brian Ralph Beglau with first-degree murder in the death of his wife, 55-year-old Melanie Susan Hunter.

RCMP said the two were married but had been living separately at the time of her death. According to 2013 data from Statistics Canada, 48 per cent of all victims of family violence were victimized by a current or former spouse.

READ MORE: Husband of Sherwood Park woman charged in her murder

November is National Family Violence Prevention month. Strathcona County residents are invited to wear white ribbons to signify their commitment to help end family violence.

The White Ribbon Campaign began in 1991, started by a group of Canadian men. It has since spread to 60 countries around the world, and urges men to speak out against violence against women.

“No one needs to stand alone in dealing with family violence,” said Strathcona County RCMP Supt. Gary Peck.

“The RCMP is committed to stand side by side with our community partners in working together to bring attention and awareness to family violence within our community.”

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READ MORE: ‘It’s a problem in our province’: Fort Saskatchewan shooting highlights tragedy of domestic violence

A Strathcona group called Men as Allies was recently created to educate men and women about the role they can play in preventing domestic violence.

Anyone who wishes to take part in the White Ribbon Campaign can get a ribbon free of charge from any Strathcona County facility.

Anyone who is in or is aware of an abusive situation is encouraged to call the Safe Place 24-hour crisis line at 780-464-7233.

Here are some additional resources for those in need:

Edmonton Family Violence Centre
Canadian Mental Health Association
Child Welfare League of Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada, Family Violence Prevention Team, Centre for Health Promotion & Family Violence Initiative
Neighbours Friends & Families

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