The trauma of domestic violence doesn’t end after a woman and her children escape their abuser. It takes a village to help them heal and rebuild, which is why Discovery House has partnered with community agencies to change the lives of vulnerable Calgarians.
November is Family Violence Prevention Month in Alberta, and Discovery House is taking the opportunity to highlight the partnerships that make their work possible.
“Community support is critical to breaking the cycle of violence,” says Monique Auffrey, CEO of Discovery House. “By empowering women to live independently, they’re less likely to return to their abusers. By helping kids understand and heal from their trauma, they’re less likely to become perpetrators or victims of violence later in life. We’re fortunate to partner with a number of community agencies to supplement our in-house programs and services, ensuring our women and children get the best possible support.”
One such agency is InfantCare Alberta (formerly NeighbourLink), which has supported Discovery House for more than three years, supplying home furnishings to families moving out of shelter and infant care supplies to mothers with young children. Recently, InfantCare donated $22,000 worth of car seats and strollers to Discovery House through their Infant Care Under Two program.
“Like Discovery House, we are invested in healthy childhood brain development,” says Christopher Jost, Executive Director of InfantCare Alberta. “By supplying mothers in need with infant care supplies and teaching them about nutrition and sleep basics, we are helping to reduce the adverse impacts of childhood trauma.”
“Our community partnerships are win-win,” adds Auffrey. “Sharing our expertise and resources makes our funding go further, which is especially important considering the rising domestic violence statistics in our community.”
Alberta has the third-highest rate of domestic violence in Canada and instances are on the rise in Calgary. Despite lower domestic conflict calls in the first three quarters of this year, Calgary Police still expect 2019 to have 17% more domestic violence calls than the five-year average.
When developing programs and partnerships, Discovery House is mindful of how they can be adapted to varying populations and domestic violence rates. Their partnership with Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child and the University of Calgary tests preventative approaches to create programming that is not only effective, but also scalable, so small and large communities alike can benefit.
“Discovery House serves hundreds of families each year and we know our programming works. In the past 10 years, we’ve had only three per cent of families return to Discovery House,” says Auffrey. “Still, last year alone we had to turn away nearly 600 women and children simply due to lack of resources. It takes a village to change these lives. Now more than ever, we need to work together to help women and children break the cycle of domestic violence.”
About Discovery House
Discovery House is a social profit organization providing a continuum of care to women and their children fleeing domestic violence. We facilitate transitional housing, offering longer-term, safe places for women and children to call home while they begin rebuilding their lives. We provide mothers access to counselling, support and programs to ensure they never return to abusive partners. We work directly with children, to mitigate the effects of trauma and prevent the cycle from repeating. To learn more or donate, visit discoveryhouse.ca.
About Family Violence Prevention Month
Family Violence Prevention Month started in 1986 by the Hinton Society for the Prevention of Family Violence to draw public attention to the issue and improve local supports and services. Since then, every November is a call to action for Albertans to address family violence in their communities.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Emily Pratt, Senior Communications Advisor