Our Charitable Choices this week is on Homefront! Founded in 2000, Homefront provides free client services and support to those working through the court system after domestic violence with the goal of reducing domestic violence in Calgary. We had the pleasure to speak to a representative from Homefront to learn more!
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
HomeFront is a Calgary based non-profit that works through a collaborative approach to support families impacted by domestic violence that are going through the court process. HomeFront partners with the police, the justice system and various community organizations to support victims of domestic violence after charges are laid; HomeFront works with 100% of the charged domestic violence files that come through the police. We provide our clients with information, court updates, resources, referrals, advocacy, education and emotional support to help move their lives into a safe and positive direction.
What problem does it aim to solve?
We are working to help address the problem of domestic violence in our community. It’s a serious issue that our city faces, with over 2 calls every hour of every day to the police for domestic violence – and that doesn’t even paint the whole picture as we know 70% of victims of domestic violence don’t report to the police.
When did you start/join it?
I personally started at HomeFront 11 years ago, but we have been around for 20 years!
What made you want to get involved?
There are so many people that are impacted by this issue – 1 in 3 people will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime; that’s your friends, your family members, your coworkers. Seeing the profound impact domestic violence can have, something that can be prevented and ended, I knew I wanted to be involved in helping to prevent anymore senseless tragedies.
I also think I speak for most people that work here, HomeFront is such a unique and essential organization; we fill a gap and provide a service unique to the sector. Prior to HomeFront, victims of domestic violence were calling the police, entering the justice system and had no where to turn or no one to provide them with support or answer their questions through this extremely scary time. HomeFront works to guide families through this difficult journey and support them in breaking their cycles with abuse and creating healthier families.
What was the situation like when you started?
Domestic violence has always been a serious issue in our city, and sadly the numbers keep growing. When HomeFront first started, victim engagement in the justice system was extremely low. These files and families were shuffling through court rooms and treated like any other case, which is problematic for these victims and families impacted.
How has it changed since?
HomeFront helped to establish the Specialized Domestic Violence Court here in Calgary when we started, which has made a huge difference – these cases can now be treated in a wholistic approach where we look at all the complexities and account for victims safety, offender accountability and healthier families. This unique model has been hugely beneficial in addressing these cases and improving victim engagement. So much so that we have had individuals from the Ukraine, Japan, and all over North America looking to re-create our model!
What more needs to be done?
Sadly, domestic violence numbers continue to increase as the years go on. While we are glad that people are reporting these situations, we also know there’s still so much to be done on every level to help end this issue.
There’s still more work that we as a community and society can do to address the issue of domestic violence, and it really starts by talking about it and taking this issue out from behind closed doors. Educating yourself of the signs, and how to approach a friend, family member or coworker you think might be in a dangerous situation is important. Check out this blog on our website for more information.
How can our readers help?
Support events, donate if you can, and talk about this issue! The more we talk about it, the more support we can get for people who need it. Educating yourself is another big thing, the more you know, the more you can help create change.
Do you have any events coming up?
We do! 2020 marks our 20th Anniversary and we have a number of events going on throughout the year, and the first one is our annual Overcoming Obstacles event on May 2, 2020. It is a team-based obstacle style race held at Cor.Fit’s indoor facility. Teams of 4 can sign up for this super fun and unique event, no experience necessary and all fitness levels and abilities welcome! Check out our website for more information.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
There are so many incredible charities working to end domestic violence in our city, one we love is Nadia’s Hope Foundation. We met Racha El-Dib at the With Her event and got to hear her profoundly emotional and tragic story of the loss of her sister Nadia to domestic violence. She has used this tragedy as a platform to educate and advocate, and we are so inspired by her dedication.