Let's Talk About Domestic Violence

According to a recent survey measuring men’s attitudes towards domestic violence, nearly one in ten men in Alberta believe it is acceptable to physically assault a woman if she does something to anger him.

The survey, conducted by Leger Marketing for the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, asked 1,000 men aged 18 and over various questions about domestic violence and violence against women and girls.

According to the report:

  • 52 per cent of respondents agree with the statement that women could leave a violent relationship if they really wanted to.

  • 13 per cent agree that domestic violence is not as serious if it results from people getting so angry that they temporarily lose control.

  • Only 39 per cent agree that a parent slapping a child's face should be considered family violence.

Additional research tells us that Alberta leads the provinces in incidents of domestic assault, homicide-suicide, stalking and has the third highest number of domestic homicides. In fact, from 2000-2006, over 170 homicides were identified as domestic violence related. This represents about one third of all the homicides in the province. In 2010, the Edmonton Police Service responded to 6,734 reported cases of domestic violence, three of which were fatal.

Family violence is a costly and persistent problem in our city and our province. It causes victims, as well as witnesses and bystanders, to suffer incalculable pain and loss. In addition to the lives taken and injuries suffered, family violence shatters the sense of well-being that allows people to thrive. It can also cause health problems that last a lifetime, diminish children’s prospects in school and life and make individuals more vulnerable to slipping into poverty.

How can we each play a role in raising awareness around this issue?

Let’s TALK ABOUT IT. Domestic violence has traditionally been a taboo topic, dealt with behind closed doors. The stigma attached to family violence issues is decreasing, but is still persistent. This means that many of those affected are reluctant or don’t know how to get help. In effect, it is estimated that only 8% of family violence incidents are actually reported to police. The more people understand what family violence is, its effects and how to seek help, the more individuals will feel empowered to take a stand and get help for themselves and those around them. So, share this article. Talk to your friends and family about the survey results and let us know what you think by posting in the comments below. Do you think the survey accurately represents Alberta?

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