Through communication with local stakeholders, YWCA Banff has been made aware of several instances of violence and compromised safety for residents in the Bow Valley. This includes, but is not limited to, assault and drink spiking.
YWCA Banff is committed to our mission of shaping a safe and inclusive Bow Valley that empowers women and their community for a better future. We are also committed to supporting survivors and preventing future violence by changing the social norms that allow violence in our community to continue.
This work is multi-faceted and driven by our community partners and stakeholders. It involves partnering with local community members, organizations, businesses and municipal government to discuss current needs and future opportunities including, but not limited to: support for survivors, community conversations and action, advocacy strategies, policy development and training.
Sadly, the issue of violence in communities is not uncommon. The total number of Alberta residents who have experienced sexual abuse in their lifetime is estimated at 1.8 million. While there is no single solution to resolve these issues, crisis can present an opportunity for people to come together and take action. Ending violence in our community requires addressing deep-rooted patterns and systemic inequalities, and we ALL have an important role to play. YWCA Banff is dedicated to supporting our community as we identify solutions and strategies.
Here are a few of the things YWCA Banff and Harmony Project* have done to date as well as initiatives we are currently working on:
- Continued promotion of the got consent? campaign, including delivery of 115 posters to local establishments and conversations with staff.
- Collaboration with Bar Watch/Banff Hospitality Collective to create the “safe nights out” campaign which explores concepts such consent and safer drinking behaviour. Harmony Project printed and distributed posters to establishments in anticipation of Halloween festivities.
- Connecting with youth, local service providers and several stakeholders around safety concerns. Exploring their ideas on specific interventions or improvements that could be made.
- Continuing to ensure local community members who have been impacted by violence (this includes not only victims but folks who are supporting them) know what resources are available to them.
- Working with several local workplaces to pilot the Creating Cultures of Consent bot-based webinar with their staff.
- Working with the Centre for Sexuality to design their Bystander Intervention Training, ensuring it is accessible and that it addresses the issue of drink spiking which is so relevant currently in our community.
- Update the local town councils on the work of the Harmony Project in community, share any relevant data/research and determine possible future action such as establishing a community working group.
- Sexual Violence Awareness Month (SVAM) in May is an opportunity to re-engage the community around these issues and build on relationships prior to our busy summer tourism season. This year SVAM will focus on building engaged or active bystanders or “upstanders” as well as prevention of sexual violence in the workplace.
We will continue to work with our stakeholders across the Bow Valley to identify solutions and work to address the issue of violence in our community.
Here are a few things you can do right now to support our community:
- Help us share our message by re-sharing and following the YWCA Banff social accounts on Facebook and Instagram.
- Join our mailing list to find out about future training opportunities and ways to engage.
- Take the first step in becoming a YWCA Banff advocate by joining our list of amazing volunteers.
*The Harmony Project is a coming together of service providers in the Bow Valley to end sexual assault and sexual harassment, and a project of YWCA Banff.
Programs and Services Contact:
Reave MacLeod | Director of Programs and Services
Media and Communications Contact:
Michelle Rhode | Director of Community Engagement