November is Family Violence Prevention Month in Alberta, and the Red Deer RCMP would like to take this opportunity to increase awareness of the issue, and the resources available to end family violence.

Since 2003, Red Deer RCMP have had a dedicated unit to handle domestic violence cases. The Domestic Violence Unit (DVU) is made up of four RCMP members and a social worker who specialise in providing trauma-informed service to those who have experienced domestic violence. The unit focuses on the complex and high-risk cases that require enhanced training and a sensitive approach.

“We have the extra training, knowledge and experience that allows us to provide our clients with the support they need,” Cst. Arminder Augstman, acting supervisor of the unit said. “Victims are often very fearful of speaking out against their abusers, so it takes a great deal of trust before our clients feel comfortable enough to officially report the violence they’re experiencing.”

A recent investigation from the DVU resulted in a lengthy 34-month sentence for one offender, which speaks to the strength of the investigation and case the investigators were able to put forth.

“These types of longer sentences are really important as it gives the victim time to safely reach out to support services that help them restructure their life,” Cst. Augstman added.

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To help clients, the DVU works closely with the Red Deer RCMP Victim Services Unit. Together, they connect clients to the resources they need such as shelters, health clinics, and child & family services.

Red Deer RCMP want to remind the public that family violence comes in many forms, including mental, physical, sexual and emotional abuse by one partner toward his or her partner, their children, or the elderly and disabled. Abusers may try to intimidate or control their victims by destroying personal property, withdrawing access to children or pets, or keeping victims from contact with friends or family.

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If you think someone may be in a family violence situation, make the call. Contact the Red Deer RCMP’s non-emergency line at 403-343-5575, or dial 9-1-1 for emergencies.

To mark Family Violence Prevention Month, Red Deerians can show their support by wearing purple or lighting their homes in purple on Thursday, November 19 and by using the #GoPurpleAB hashtag on social media. With increased awareness, along with the support and help of partner agencies and all community members, we can make a positive impact on the fight against family violence.

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