Feb. 14, 2021, to Feb. 19, 2021, has been proclaimed Family Violence Prevention Week in the Town of Amherst.
“Family violence affects too many people,” Mayor David Kogon said on Feb. 12, 2021, as he signed the proclamation on behalf of Amherst town council.
“It causes physical and psychological harm, violates the victim’s rights and freedoms and harms the healthy development of children. It is a public health issue, a criminal justice issue and a human rights issue.
“That is why I invite all the citizens of the Town of Amherst to share in the responsibility of ending the silence surrounding family violence by addressing violence in all its forms as we all benefit from a safe community.”
Sarah MacMaster, chairperson of the Interagency Committee on Violence and Sexualize Violence, said the proclamation’s signing was part of the interagency committee’s goal this year of building “awareness in how to recognize and support
victims of family violence, and creating safer families and communities by focusing on the impact of bystanders.”
Family Violence Awareness Week is the “one week each year that we can bring awareness to the issues around family violence, which includes elder abuse, child abuse, parent abuse, spousal abuse and sibling abuse,’ added Dawn Ferris, Autumn House executive director and a member of the interagency committee.
“It is any form of physical, emotional, mental or financial abuse that happens within a home and can be caused by any family member.
“In the Cumberland region, we want all homes to be violence free. Highlighting all the different forms of abuse is an important component to educating the public.”
Ferris noted there are resources available within the Cumberland region for anyone wanting help. Among those resources is Autumn House.
While the primary mandate of Autumn House deals with domestic-intimate partner violence, Ferris said there is still an urgent need to address all types of family violence because “it remains prevalent in today’s society.”
“The more we can make it easier for people to talk about family violence, in all its forms, the more likelihood victims will seek help.”
Autumn House’s crisis line is 902-667-1200. It is a 24-hour service for people dealing with an abusive relationship.
Family Violence Prevention Week is promoted by the Interagency Committee on Family and Sexualized Violence, a collaboration of the RCMP, the Amherst Police Department, the Department of Justice, Public Health, the local ministerial association, Mental Health, Autumn House, New Directions, Victim Services, Maggie’s Place, Nova Scotia Community College, the Cumberland Sexual Health Centre, the Cumberland Sexual Violence Outreach Program, the Community Bystander Empowerment Project, Addiction Services and Restorative Justice.
The committee has been working for more than two decades to make people aware of the harm family violence causes as well as the resources in the community that support those impacted by family violence.