Guest blog by: Staff Sergeant Paul Wozney, Calgary Police Service Domestic Conflict Unit
Do you ever hear about family violence and think, “thank goodness that issue is not something I need to worry
about?” If you have had this thought, I want you know the odds are that you likely know someone who is being directly
affected by domestic violence in our city.
Domestic violence is a very real issue in Calgary and it touches Calgarians across all income levels,
neighbourhoods, ethnicities and religions. While there are some groups at a slightly higher risk of domestic violence,
there is no segment of society that is completely untouched by this problem.
Last year, the Calgary Police Service responded to over 18,500 domestic conflict calls. That is about seven per cent
of all calls to the police, or two domestic conflict calls every hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
While the vast majority of domestic conflict calls did not involve physical violence, almost 5,000 of them did last
year. This includes seven homicides and another seven attempted murders where, thankfully, the person survived.
We are track for even greater numbers in 2018. By August, we had already responded to over 16,000 domestic conflict
calls with almost 3,400 involving some form of physical violence. This is a 13 per cent increase from last year and a
46 per cent increase from the five-year average.
These statistics are staggering, but they become even more disturbing when you consider that behind each number is a
real family, often with children. The people getting hurt are somebody’s daughter, sister, mother, son or close friend
and the list goes on.
These are coworkers that everyone is concerned about but no one knows how to help. These are volunteers at your
child’s school that some days just don’t come in for their shift. They are the neighbours that you hear fighting but
don’t know what to do about it.
We often say that there is no typical face of domestic violence in our city, and that is simply because the faces of
people touched by domestic violence are all around us.
As a police service, we have learned over the years that domestic violence is not an issue that can be arrested
away. The only way we can stop domestic violence is to together address the root causes of the problem instead of just
the offences after violence happens.
Survivors often need counseling, financial assistance, education and other supports to move their family to safety
and eventually from unhealthy to healthy. If the perpetrator is going to break the cycle of violence, they too will
need effective treatment, education and support to change.
- If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911
- If you are experiencing abuse or have questions about domestic abuse, please call 403.234.7233 (SAFE)
- If you are experiencing or have questions about sexual assault, please call 403.237.5888