Members of the Leduc Victim Services organization proudly display the new poster campaign to encourage positive parenting at Leduc's Civic Centre.
Bright and early on the morning of November 7th, acting in the capacity of Deputy Mayor, Councillor David McKenzie read an announcement proclaiming November as, “Official Family Violence Prevention Month in Leduc.”
He was surrounded on this morning by local experts, professionals and volunteers who are actively involved in helping to prevent family violence in Leduc and area, at a breakfast hosted by the City of Leduc held in the Civic Centre's atrium.
Prior to reading the Proclamation, David encouraged everyone to speak up against family violence and commented that, "Women's shelters are critically important and necessary, but that said, we can have all the shelters in the world but the real solution is a change in attitudes and the elimination of the problem of family violence. One measure of how civilized a country is, is how their women are treated. That we have a high level of family violence, to me, is a real indictment that we have a long way to go."
Just one of the organizations working hard to make that long road as short as possible is Leduc's Family Violence Prevention Team which is a cooperative effort between all the municipalities in Leduc County and has representatives from Beaumont, Devon, the City and County of Leduc, mental health, probation services, children's services, victim services and the ministerial assoc.
This group of people were instrumental in organizing a new campaign against family violence. "We wanted to create a positive message for our campaign," stated Kim Williston, the Director of FCSS in Beaumont. "There are other campaigns out there that are pretty edgy and they do a good job of getting people talking but we felt that was not the direction we wanted to go. So our "Super Heroes" campaign is a positive message. We wanted to encourage parents to be better role models and to create awareness about preventing family violence. These posters will be going up in all the municipalities within the County."
The Mayor of Beaumont, Camille Berube, was on hand to support this initiative and said, "Awareness and education are the keys to reducing family violence. Violence shatters the sense of well being needed for a healthy family to thrive."
One of the main components driving the creation of the Super Heroes campaign was the acknowledgment of how important fathers are to a family. "We want dads to feel they have a voice," said Family and Youth Coordinator for the City of Leduc, Kari Klatt. "Men need to recognize the importance of the time they spend with their kids. Just getting down on the floor and playing or encouraging family activities like sitting down for family dinners is so crucial to having a healthy family unit."
Focusing on men and education is a critical element in attempting to reduce family violence as according to David, "I think that approximately 98% of family violence is perpetrated by men. Men should protect their families and never be a threat to them."
The City of Leduc has a wealth of information posted on their website about the Super Heroes campaign and on how parents can "earn their cape". On their site you can find suggestions of ways that parents can foster healthy relationships with their children, definitions of what family violence is, and links to counselling professionals, organizations, resources and programs.
"…If you see family violence, report it," said Kari. "Anyone can be a Super Hero in their own community!"