Training session underway for Alberta front-line domestic violence workers
Approximately 90 people, including women’s shelter staff and police officers, are receiving training Thursday to better help women dealing with domestic violence.
The training seminar, which is being organized by the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS), is being led by Dr. Jacquelyn Campbell, a professor from Johns Hopkins University who is a leading researcher in domestic violence. Campbell has collaborated with ACWS several times over the last decade.
The seminar will centre around a tool developed by Campbell called danger assessment, a series of questions that helps determine the likelihood a woman will be killed by her intimate partner.
“Women’s shelters can use this as a way of describing women’s risk when they work with the courts, when they work with child welfare, when they work with lawyers, when they work with police,” said ACWS executive director Jan Reimer.
Reimer said the tool has been used by shelters for years but was recently updated to include three new groups: immigrant women, women in same sex relationships and Indigenous women.
“We have higher rates of homicide for Indigenous women both here in Canada and in the U.S. – domestic violence homicide – we need to make our safety planning based on it just more culturally appropriate and more relevant to those groups,” Campbell said.
“The same with immigrant women. We have an increased risk of homicide for immigrant women. We do know immigrant women are highly at risk for domestic violence, therefore would be at risk for domestic violence homicide.”
Reimer said it is important to expand the types of women covered by the danger assessment.
“We recognize the need to be inclusive, the need to be targeted, the need to meet women where they’re at,” she said.
Campbell said she is hopeful the training will result in more effective use of the danger assessment, which includes using a calendar.
“What the calendar is is helping the women go back through the past year to help her see for herself the pattern of domestic violence that’s been happening in her relationship. [It] helps women see for themselves how much danger there is in their relationship because they’re often going to underestimate that danger,” she said.
The training, which is being held at Chateau Lacombe, continues on Friday.
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