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Women’s shelter group looking to prevent violence during Grey Cup week

Click to play video: 'Football player J.R. La Rose on being an influencer to reduce domestic violence' Football player J.R. La Rose on being an influencer to reduce domestic violence
WATCH ABOVE: J.R. La Rose, former Grey Cup winner and Edmonton Eskimos player, talks with Kent Morrison about using his position to get the message out about domestic violence and sexual assault at the annual Breakfast with the Guys – Nov 21, 2018

The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters is using this week’s Grey Cup party to shine a light on domestic violence and sexual assault.

A University of Calgary study has shown that during certain Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders games, domestic violence rates rise as much as 15 per cent, according to the ACWS.

“When there are intense team rivalries or unexpected upsets, it’s correlated with an escalation of violence,” executive director Jan Reimer said. “So our focus is to make sure that doesn’t happen here.”

READ MORE: Give Me Shelter campaign to help victims of domestic violence enters 15th year

Reimer said the ACWS is partnering with the Grey Cup as well as Edmonton restaurants and bars to ensure information about supports is widely available during the festival.

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“There is no doubt there is a direct correlation between alcohol and sexual assault,” said Mary Jane James with the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton.

“Major sporting events are fun, wonderfully popular and very exciting attractions; however, as fun as they are, statistics demonstrate they can lead to an increase in sexual violence, especially alcohol- and drug-facilitated sexual violence and most particularly against women.”

While the ACWS is encouraging bars and restaurants to make sure people who may need help can find it, they’re also encouraging people attending the festival to keep their eyes open for possible domestic or sexual violence happening around them.

READ MORE: New Alberta online tool aims to stop domestic violence

But James said anyone witnessing violence doesn’t have to be a “hero.” She said simply addressing the situation, getting someone involved, de-escalating the situation or checking in with the person who has experienced the harm can go a long way.

“When in doubt, make sure to always prioritize and take guidance from the person experiencing harm.”

WATCH: The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters is shining a light on domestic violence and sexual assault, by holding their annual Breakfast with the Guys during Grey Cup week. Kent Morrison spoke with executive director Jan Reimer about it.

Click to play video: '2018 Breakfast with the Guys during Grey Cup week in Edmonton' 2018 Breakfast with the Guys during Grey Cup week in Edmonton
2018 Breakfast with the Guys during Grey Cup week in Edmonton – Nov 21, 2018

Bars and restaurants can contact the AWCS for Grey Cup information packets.

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READ MORE: Edmonton reported sexual assaults second highest in Canada: report

On Wednesday, the ACWS is hosting Breakfast with the Guys, which Reimer describes as an event to celebrate the “men who are changing the game by standing up to prevent violence, who lead from where they stand and who know their actions matter.”

Tickets are still available on the ACWS website.

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