From left, EVIR members Diane Claudepierre and Aaron Leakey with Family Justice Services and Colette Madsen with Community Services, want downtown businesses to adorn their storefront windows with purple lights to bring attention to ending domestic violence. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Purple lights to illuminate the issue of domestic violence in Maple Ridge

Businesses along 224 Street will decorate storefront windows for Sept. 26

Purple lights will adorn downtown businesses at the end of September to raise awareness about domestic violence.

The Ridge Meadows Ending Violence In Relationships Committee, a committee comprised of Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Katzie agencies who support individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and abuse, are encouraging businesses on 224th Street to deck their front windows with purple lights for the Lights4EVIR campaign.

Throughout 2018, the Ridge Meadows RCMP answered nearly 1,100 calls for service related to relationship violence, said the committee.

RELATED: Domestic violence on the rise in Canada after 8-year decline

Maple Ridge family justice counsellor Diane Claudepierre said the awareness campaign has been in the works since 2010, started by a woman who worked in the probation field.

That followed the violence against women in relationships policy that came out the same year from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Ministry of Attorney General and Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Recommendations were made in the policy that community groups raise awareness about the issue.

She said another subcommittee was formed because of the policy called the Interagency Case Assessment Teams, that do needs assessment for high-risk individuals.

“Then they will work with all of those immediate services to get help for the person who is in the domestic incident to get assistance throughout the community,” she said.

RELATED: Women in vulnerable demographics most at risk of domestic homicide, study finds

Claudepierre said this is the first year they are reaching out into the community.

“We tried it last year but it was basically people involved in the committee that were putting up the lights. We thought maybe we should get it out there a little more. Maybe we can grow it each year so that we’ll have more participants involved,” said Claudepierre.

The committee will be providing the lights, an extension cord, a poster to put up in the store window explaining the lights and pamphlets.

They will also be installing the lights for the businesses.

“We don’t want the businesses to do any work,” said Claudepierre.

Lights will be up between Sept. 26 and Oct. 3.

Purple is the international colour for elimination of domestic violence.

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From left, EVIR members Colette Madsen with Community Services, and Diane Claudepierre and Aaron Leakey with Family Justice Services, want downtown businesses to adorn their storefront windows with purple lights to bring attention to ending domestic violence. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

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