Maple Ridge has turned purple for the end of September.
Purple lights have been put up in 27 businesses along 224 Street to bring awareness about relationship violence in the community.
Started in 2018 by the Ridge Meadows Ending Violence In Relationships Committee, the purple lights not only bring awareness to the issue, but are also meant to highlight where to get help in the community for those that need it.
The committee provided the lights, extension chords, a poster explaining the event, material to hand out and clips to hang the lights, to those wanting to participate.
In 2019, the Ridge Meadows RCMP attended nearly 1,218 calls for service that were related to relationship violence, read a notice by the EVIR committee that was sent out to businesses regarding the campaign. In 2018, the committee said, that number was around 1,100.
“These incidents can have a devastating effect on families, including children who witness or experience violence,” read the letter.
The EVIR committee would like to grow the initiative, said committee chair Diane Claudepierre, after receiving great response from local businesses last year.
However, this year, because of the COVID pandemic, they weren’t sure what the response would be.
“We received a great response and we’re hoping to expand with other downtown businesses and possibly Pitt Meadows,” said Claudepierre, possibly next year.
The EVIR committee is made up of partner agencies including Cythera Transition House Society, the RCMP, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Community Services, Family Justice Services, the Fraser River Indigenous Society, Fraser Health, and more.
In addition to awareness campaigns, the committee also offers training and workshops for professionals about violence and abuse.
“Relationship violence is a pervasive social problem which has a destructive impact upon families and the community,” reads a statement on the EVIR website, where they define violence as, “causing or attempting to cause physical, sexual, psychological and emotional abuse, which may include but is not limited to intimidation, harassment, threats, stalking, financial abuse and intentional damage to property”.
The website also offers links for people who are either experiencing abuse or violence or know someone who is to learn more about creating safety for themselves, their loved ones and their children.
Lights went up September 24 and will be coming down on Oct. 2.
For more information go to ridgemeadowsevir.ca.