Stratford Police Department launches year-long domestic violence awareness campaign with local women’s shelters


The Stratford Police Department has partnered with the Emily Murphy Center and Optimism Place Women’s Shelters in a year-long awareness campaign to reduce the stigma of seeking help and speak out family violence.

Content of the article

Although domestic violence, particularly violence against women, continues to be one of society’s most pervasive problems, it also continues to be one of the most difficult issues to address openly.


Content of the article

Last year Stratford Police responded to 586 domestic violence calls and laid 90 related charges. However, the number of women and children who sought shelter and support services through Optimism Place and the Emily Murphy Center was even higher.

A total of 59 women and 40 children stayed at Optimism Place and 64 women lived at the Emily Murphy Center in 2021 through the shelters’ residential programs. Additionally, Optimism Place supported 259 women through its outreach program, while the Emily Murphy Center supported 718 women through its programming. Nearly 2,100 women called Optimism Place’s crisis line and participated in walk-in programs, while 242 children accessed support through Emily’s Children’s Therapy and Counseling Programs. Murphy Center.

The Emily Murphy Center also received 142 requests for services from abused women and concerned family members and friends.

And these are just the people who asked for help.

There are even more women and children in Stratford and surrounding communities suffering in silence. In an effort to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help and speaking openly about domestic violence, the Stratford Police Department has partnered with the city’s women’s shelters to raise awareness of the issue through a year-long campaign.

“The goal is to help reduce the stigma of reporting and seeking help when people are experiencing or suffering from domestic violence, and simply to reduce those barriers to reporting,” the resource officer said. Const. says Darren Fischer.


Content of the article

By openly discussing domestic violence, the intention of the campaign is twofold. First, it will offer information about the support services available in Stratford and assure victims of abuse that they will be taken seriously and protected should they decide to seek help or report their abuser to the police.

“The relationship between victims of domestic violence and the police has been strained in the past, so it is important that we really work to improve this relationship and improve the work and service we provide to those who suffer from domestic violence” , said Fischer. .

“You should feel welcome. You shouldn’t feel judged. You shouldn’t feel like your actions are under scrutiny. You should only feel supported when you come to the police.

Second, it will provide a starting point for the community at large to talk openly about the issue, giving friends and family the information and resources to help their loved ones while encouraging parents to teach their children – especially young men and boys – how to resolve conflicts and manage their emotions without resorting to violence.

“We see these huge numbers and huge events, but they’re not necessarily shared with our community at all,” said Optimism Place Residential Director Hannah Skinner. “We have to talk about it. We need to share with our community to reduce the isolation of survivors or those currently experiencing it. So the best way to reduce this stigma is to talk about it, to let people know about it.


Content of the article

“We know it affects everyone. It affects so many different sectors. … It affects so many different people in our community, so we need to start talking about it.

Ever since the women’s shelter movement has been active in Canada – some 100 years now – domestic violence has been widely discussed behind closed doors. While it may have been for a good reason at one point — and necessary to protect victims of abuse — Emily Murphy Center executive director Lisa Wilde says there are ways to discuss domestic violence without jeopardize the safety of vulnerable people seeking help.

“Domestic violence happens because of secrecy in many ways and in many ways,” Wilde said. “And so, by going out, by getting our name out there, by collaborating with all of our community partners, it’s just one more way of saying, ‘Hey, we’re here. We can help you, and that’s not OK. ”

Through this year-long awareness campaign, Stratford Police, the Emily Murphy Center and Optimism Place will continue to share local domestic violence statistics, report specific incidents of domestic violence through the media and educate the general public about the role community members can play. to prevent violence against women.

In addition to each of the three partner organizations sharing information on domestic violence, local radio stations in Stratford – 107.7 2Day FM and 107.1 JuiceFM – will air monthly public service announcements focusing on a different topic related to domestic violence. .


Content of the article

The most important message throughout this campaign – whether you are a victim or survivor of abuse in need of help or a family member, friend or neighbor of someone who may be in abusive relationship – is to reach out and ask for help, advice or guidance.

[email protected]

Support for domestic violence in Stratford and Perth County



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. Visit our Community Rules for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.


Comments are closed.