EDMONTON – Alberta has among the highest rates of domestic violence and number of domestic violence-related homicides in the country.
In Edmonton alone, 7,849 calls were made to police in 2014. That’s 21.5 calls per day. And police believe only 30 per cent of domestic violence cases are even reported.
Those are just some of the sobering statistics presented during the 11th annual Breakfast with the Guys on Wednesday. The breakfast focuses on the role men play in not only stopping domestic violence but also in educating other boys and men about it.
“It is very important for all of us to work together to end gender violence,” said Acting Sgt. Namrata Gill, an Edmonton police officer and former victim of domestic violence.
“Until we do that, until there’s gender equality, we cannot end gender violence.”
Gill escaped from her husband in 1997. She stayed at the WIN House with her daughter for a month, giving her the strength to stay away and start her own life. She reminds people often it’s not easy to “just leave” the situation.
“They don’t know the situation, they don’t know how much the person has been beaten down, how much the person doesn’t have the self confidence, the self respect,” she said. “Sometimes there’s immigration, sometimes there’s a threat to the family, sometimes they think, ‘okay, if I leave, what’s going to happen with my children? How am I going to provide for my children?'”
More than 200 people attended the breakfast, including Mayor Don Iveson and Len Rhodes, president and CEO of the Edmonton Eskimos.
Edmonton police officers are also playing an active role in the classroom, visiting numerous high schools and educating students about what resources are available to them.
“We need to do something about the problem. We need to be actively engaged with the violence in the homes and we need to find some solutions to bring that violence down, bring it under control,” said Staff Sgt. Sean Armstrong, who heads up the Domestic Offender Crimes Section with the Edmonton Police Service.
All of the money raised from the breakfast will go toward the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters.