While there are a variety of services for people experiencing violence in Hay River and on the Reserve, not everyone knows they exist.
That’s why groups came together last week to mark Victims’ Awareness Week, with presentations on victims’ services meant to help individuals and families.
“There are services out there, you don’t have to speak about it now,” victim services worker Vivian Lafleur told a room full of students from Chief Sunrise Education Centre. “Hopefully, it helps you guys and we can come together and help each other and make this a better community for everyone.”
While the community was invited to sessions at the Dene Cultural Institute throughout the day on Thursday, the morning mostly consisted of discussions between professionals from the various agencies. Students visited in the afternoon for a presentation on the Family Support Centre.
“It’s been around for years and it’s a safe-home for women and their families, fleeing violence,” explained board member Sharon Pekok. “We’re just one of five emergency shelters in the Northwest Territories.”
Clara Sabourin also gave a presentation on bullying, talking about how it can be difficult for children to speak out against aggressors when adults can be prone to brushing them off.
“People don’t always believe it when a little kid says ‘this is happening to me,’” she said, adding that it can often take more than one adult to rectify a situation. “Two people who interact with a bully, it can be dealt with, if it’s done the right way.”
Lafleur said that while there are many people accessing services, some either do not know what is available to them, or don’t consider themselves victims.
“It takes education to help people take steps to help themselves,” she said. “And we’re here for all of it.”