A monthly women’s safety circle was held on Jan. 18 at The Community and Neighbourhood Services building in Forest Lawn.
The business unit shares a locked up facility with youth who are serving probation, but also partners with organizations and services such as Community Safety Initiative, (CSI).
“I don’t think that there’s another agency doing what we are doing now,” said Michelle Robinson, Indigenous Liaison for 12 CSI.
“We service the 12 communities in our area, and focus on crime prevention.”
Robinson has been working with the organization for six years, and every third Thursday of the month, she hosts an event where women can come together and interact. over tea and sandwiches.
Unfortunately, 12 CSI does not receive a lot of funding from the government.
However, Robinson said that they try to make the group as inclusive as possible, allowing all who identify as women to attend, and that “12 CSI is indicative of the 12 communities in this area.”
The topic for the Jan. 18 safety circle was the importance of self-care, and realizing the negative impact stress can create.
Sarah Favel, the communications and advocacy co-ordinator for YWCA, said it is another organization that focuses on safety for women in Calgary.
Although they are not partnered with 12 CSI, the Y does have a similar approach, and provides internal events where women can share their experiences with one another in order to build community.
Favel said that YWCA focuses on assisting women who are “experiencing domestic abuse, homelessness or poverty,” and that there is a “strong group-counselling program that focuses mainly on trauma and stress.”
Mindfulness, substance misuse, managing strong emotions, and mental health are topics covered in the counselling programs.
According to YWCA’s website, the organization also has a 24-Hour Crisis Line, as well as a Domestic Violence Shelter for women interested.
“When a woman accesses our transitional shelter, she and her case manager work through safety with the goal of reducing harm to her,” said Favel.
“We provide wrap-around care to help them address any issues, concerns or traumas they have experienced.”