Each year for Family Violence Prevention Month, the Government of Alberta recognizes those who are working to make a meaningful difference to prevent violence and promote healthy relationships, by presenting individuals and organizations with Inspiration Awards.
This year, Catholic Social Services Immigration and Settlement Service (ISS) was a well-deserved recipient of an Inspiration Award from Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services. ISS was recognized for four support services, which are innovative in their approach to preventing and responding to family violence: Cross-Cultural Counselling, Tea Connections, Parenting in Two Cultures, and Men’s Conversation Group.
These programs provide newcomers with tools to manage the stressors and challenges of relocation. Parenting in Two Cultures works with newcomer parents who have had already had involvement with Child and Family Services. The program facilitates a six-week course where parents are given the support and tools necessary to reflect on the cultural norms of their home countries and reconcile these with Canadian values, laws, and standards. Others, such as Men’s Conversation Group and Tea Connections, create gender-specific safe spaces for individuals to build community through the shared experience of relocating and navigating a new culture.
For newcomers who are at risk of or have experienced domestic abuse, the Cross-Cultural Counselling program provides family counsellors to help these clients manage stress and the adverse impacts of experiencing abuse.
“These programs work across language, culture and gender,” said Alice Colak, Vice President of Immigration and Settlement Service. “To ensure that any newcomer that has the potential to be impacted by family violence, or already has experienced it, receives needed support in a way that is relevant, supportive and accessible to them.”
Collectively, these programs take innovative, diverse and strategic approaches to preventing and addressing family violence throughout the province of Alberta.
“Catholic Social Services is committed to not only alleviating the symptoms of social challenges, but to address challenges at their roots and making lasting social change,” said Dr. Troy Davies, CEO of Catholic Social Services. “This award is a testament to the great work our teams are doing to address the root causes of family violence in these vulnerable communities.”