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Domestic violence resource card initiative develops in southern Saskatchewan

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Yorkton, Sask. -

A new domestic violence resource card initiative is taking the lead in Yorkton and is quickly expanding in southern Saskatchewan.

In partnership with Yorkton RCMP and Shelwin House, the resource cards supply information of services available to women who are experiencing intimate partner violence or family violence.

“The resource card itself lists our two local shelters, Shelwin House and Safe Haven,” explained Dolores LeVangie, outreach and education coordinator of Shelwin House in Yorkton.

“As well, it has the information for two very useful free apps that are also able to be accessed through a web portal. One is the iHeal app, which is for anyone who is in an abusive relationship and they need to know more about their safety and their well-being. The Talking Stick app is a Saskatchewan app for Indigenous people, that one is peer to peer chat support.”

The idea for creating the initiative came after a meeting held between both groups during the winter. Sgt. Burton Jones, Yorkton RCMP’s Detachment Commander, said cases of domestic violence are present in the Parkland region.

A new domestic violence resource card initiative is taking the lead in Yorkton. (Sierra D'Souza Butts / CTV News) “Sadly domestic violence is (in Yorkton), it’s prevalent right across Canada,” Jones said.

Jones explained the RCMP’s policy and said they will investigate all instances of domestic violence and lay charges where they can be supported by the evidence.

“That means basically anytime we’re entered into an investigation (and) there’s evidence there showing domestic violence happened, we will lay a charge and put in the court system. It’s that serious of a matter that it needs to be addressed at the highest level,” he said.

However, LeVangie pointed out women who are victims to intimate partner or family violence may not always feel safe speaking to an officer and the cards act as a 24 hour available service.

"It is also a way for the officers to know that if a person is not interested in pressing charges, or following up with the legal system, that they're leaving the situation having left the person with something that will be able to support them,” she said.

LeVangie also pointed out that it takes multiple occasions before women seek support from third party organizations.

“Many women are very scared to take the next step to going out for help,” she told CTV News.

“We also know that it’s not just there would be one incident of abuse and the individual packs their bags and leaves. We’re talking about repeated patterns of behaviour of abuse that build over time and at some point in time a woman may get to the point where there is one incident that does cause her to leave the situation.”

In instances where women do not feel comfortable reaching out for help from their homes, LeVangie recommends people utilize public spaces instead.

“Services that someone may want to access from their home, they may not be able to because their electronic use is being monitored,” she explained.

“Whether that's checking browser history or actually someone having access to your phone and controlling the apps that you're allowed to put on it. By coming to a library or public place where you can use your phone or use public access computers, an individual is able to safely look into these resources without fear of being monitored."

Other RCMP Detachments such as Melville, Wynyard, Wadena Canora, and Kamsack also have access to the resource cards. LeVangie said detachments in Broadview, Esterhazy and Moosomin will soon have access to them as well. 

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