Healthy, safe, and respectful relationships are vital to our emotional well-being. When we have healthy relationships, we’re better-able to navigate our stressors, solve problems, and overcome challenges. But issues such as domestic violence and intergenerational trauma can negatively impact the physical and mental well-being of individuals and families, the social-emotional development of children, and can push individuals and families toward poverty.
Around the world, domestic violence has risen sharply since the start of the pandemic, and Calgary is no exception. Described as the Shadow Pandemic by UN Women, reports and data from health care, helpline and social support agency front lines show that violence against women and girls has increased at an alarming rate. Domestic violence claims many immediate and extended victims; when children are exposed to it, their brain development and ability to learn are negatively affected, as is their potential to become abusers themselves or to believe that threats and violence are a normal part of relationships.
That’s why United Way works with partner agencies (like the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter and the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association) to end violence before it happens, providing people affected by domestic violence with access to supports such as counselling, safety planning, and other community resources.