The federal government is investing more than $2.5 million over four years in three initiatives by University of Calgary researchers targeting family and gender-based violence.
A University of Calgary project called “SHIFT: The Project to End Domestic Violence,” will receive $1,026,097 to implement and evaluate “The Art of the Nudge” within the Calgary Police Department. They will work with 200 police officers to encourage more gender-equal, anti-violent behavior in men working in male-dominated environments.
The project is expected to branch out beyond the Calgary Police Service and work within other police services.
SHIFT will be given another $864,017 to scale up ConnectED Parents, an innovative health promotion intervention focused on teen dating violence.
Through text-based interventions, the resource uses peer groups to equip parents or caregivers with more information on how to educate young people about maintaining healthy relationships.
An investment of $656,035 will be given to the university’s Faculty of Social Work to adapt the Alberta Men’s Network training program in collaboration with other organizations that prevent intimate partner violence among Black men and Black communities in Calgary and Toronto.
The project works to develop violence prevention and intervention strategies through training, peer mentoring and community education.
“Everyone deserves to live safe and free from violence, but that’s not a reality for many people,” said Carolyn Bennett, the Federal Minister for Mental Health and Addictions, and Associate Minister for Health.
“The funding announced today in Calgary will be instrumental in helping those who have experienced or are at risk of family and gender-based violence find the support they need to achieve safety and stability in their lives.”
The funding announcement comes as Calgary shelters and domestic abuse support groups report high demand for services and city police see an increase in domestic abuse calls. A survey cited by the federal government in a news release Thursday indicates that risk factors for child abuse and domestic violence — such as depression, stress and alcohol consumption — have increased.
Bennett said that despite this investment, there is still work to be done to build a future where all people are treated with dignity and respect.
Bennett’s announcement is part of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence that began on November 25 and ends on December 10 for Human Rights Day. One-third of Canadian adults report experiencing abuse as a child, the Public Health Agency of Canada said in Thursday’s news release.
Dr. Ellen Perrault, dean of the faculty of social work at the University of Calgary, said she was proud and grateful for the federal agency’s recognition of the faculty’s innovative work. Perrault said the work being done to address domestic violence is extremely important to the community.
“Lana Wells and her SHIFT team continue to be thought leaders in changing the conditions that foster domestic violence, while Dr. Patrina Duhaney’s groundbreaking work will engage black communities to define the issues and appropriate solutions surrounding domestic violence prevention,” Perrault said. said.