In 2019 the Ridge Meadows RCMP attended about 1,218 calls related to relationship violence and abuse. Up from about 1,100 in 2018.
These numbers are staggering to Maple Ridge family justice counsellor Diane Claudepierre and has spurred her and her team at the Ending Violence in Relationships, EVIR, Committee to bring awareness to the issue every year with a campaign of purple lights downtown Maple Ridge.
The Maple Ridge with Lights4EVIR will be taking place at the end of September and Claudepierre is hoping to get more businesses involved this year.
Last year 27 businesses along 224 Street took part in the event where they displayed purple lights in their storefront windows along with information on the event.
Incidents of relationship violence can have a devastating effect on families, including children who witness or experience violence, and the EVIR Committee wants to raise awareness about intimate partner violence in our city, explained Claudepierre.
So the committee is asking downtown businesses to light up their windows from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1 with the colour purple, the international awareness colour for domestic violence.
For participating business all supplies will be provided for free including: one or two strands of purple lights; an extension cord; an information poster for their store window along with materials to give to people who ask about the lights; and supplies to hang the lights.
Supplies will be dropped off at each business from Sept. 20 to 24 and will be picked up again the week of Oct. 4.
The EVIR Committee is made up of a dedicated group of service providers from Cythera Transition House Society, the RCMP, Ministry of Children Family Development, Maple Ridge Community Corrections, Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services, Family Justice Services, Family Education Centre, Fraser Health and other agencies.
The committee offers training and workshops in addition to holding awareness campaigns.
They also offer safety planning links on their website for those impacted by intimate abuse or violence including: The Danger Assessment Tool by Jacquelyn C. Campbell; safety planning, a tool put out by Cythera Transition House Society to help women create safety for themselves with respect to domestic violence; and a Safety Planning Guide from Ending Violence Association of B.C.
To get involved in the event, contact EVIR by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Ridge Meadows Ending Violence in Relationships Committee go to ridgemeadowsevir.ca.
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