ACWS ‘You Are Not Alone’ By Kenyon Stronski Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Taber Times The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) is releasing a public awareness campaign focused towards newcomer and refugee women experiencing domestic violence entitled, “You Are Not Alone.” This awareness campaign is centred around reaching out to people that believe they have nowhere else to go. With posters and videos sharing the message in Arabic, Punjabi, Tagalog, Urdu and English. “It’s hard when you don’t know what supports are there, while having to deal with language barriers and not having many people to talk to,” said ACWS Executive Director Jan Reimer. “When English isn’t someone’s first language, sometimes just reaching out in their language makes a huge difference.” The ACWS wants to help ensure women are aware shelters exist, and they are there to help. “We’re anticipating increasing demands of our services now that we’re possibly reaching the end of the pandemic,” added Reimer. “From an Alberta perspective — sometimes all it takes is for someone to hear or read something to know there are people to help and places to go. Help is there,” Reimer noted. Currently, Alberta has the highest percentage of domestic violence in the province, something Reimer stated is a serious problem. With help from their sister organization in British Columbia and funding from the Prairie Action Foundation the ACWS is ready to go full-steam ahead with this campaign. “The organization in B.C. ran an awareness campaign like this in the past. It was a huge success and it won some awards. They were kind enough to share how they ran it with us and our sister organization in Saskatchewan, who will be running something similar.” “Post on Facebook, Twitter or any social media you wish. Make sure those communities of people can see it. Get talking about it and get it out in the open,” stated Reimer. The ACWS represents 40 emergency and second-stage shelters in Alberta for women and children fleeing abuse. Safe Haven, in Taber, stated the local organization shares many of the same sentiments noted by Reimer about the campaign. For more information visit acws.ca or tabersafehaven.ca.
Kenyon Stronski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Taber Times