Breakfast puts focus on domestic violence
Front from left, Camrose County reeve Don Gregorwich and City of Camrose Mayor Norm Mayer sign a proclamation for Family Violence Prevention Month as, back from left, CDSS executive director Margaret Holliston, Family Violence Action Society program director Sheralyn Dobos, Camrose Police Service Const. Kelly Bauer, Canadian Mental Health Association support staff Paige Switzer, and Camrose Women’s Shelter executive director Nora-Lee Rear witness in Camrose on Monday. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian
The Camrose Women’s Shelter and the Family Violence Action Society had some serious conversation with the community regarding domestic violence last week.
Breakfast with the Guys brought in guest speaker Lt. Mark Wynn, an internationally renowned speaker and survivor of family violence, to talk about how domestic violence effects its victims and the community at whole. It was a sobering discussion that for Women’s Shelter executive director Nora-Lee Rear underlined just how far Camrose has to go.
“As a community we need to come together better,” she said. “We work in a bunch of different silos and we collaborate on little projects and we collaborate on grants that might come through. But how do we collaborate to make sure a victim of domestic violence is wrapped in all of the services she requires and that her needs are met. There are gaps in the system and I don’t think we’re addressing those.”
The breakfast at the Camrose Resort Casino attracted 220 people and many of them community and business leaders. Wynn also held three more discussions throughout the day at City Lights Church, one for community organizations, one for law enforcement, and the third was an evening session for the public.
This was a small step forward for the Women’s Shelter, but a positive one.
“It is encouraging to see so many community leaders out,” said Rear. “If we can get all of those people in the same room, maybe we can get them all at the same table, and that’s encouraging.”
One gap the shelter is working hard to fill is the transitional phase for survivors of domestic violence. It is a program the shelter calls Second Stage, a housing project that will help women and their children who have been through the shelter to adapt back into the world on their own.
Second Stage is still very much in the planning phase, with the big hurdles being the need for land and funding. They have just hired a consultant to help with the project and have sent a survey out to community partners. The survey is also posted on their website at www.camrosewomenshelter.org.