The Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) has been expanding services to make resources and help available to those dealing with family violence.
Originating from Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre in 2017, the services have expanded to Wetaskiwin, Sylvan Lake, Lacombe, Stettler and Ponoka, among 19 other communities.
“Abuse in the home can take many forms, all of them damaging to the individual,” said Jason Copping, Minister of Health. “The Government of Alberta wants to make sure that those impacted by domestic violence can easily access the appropriate mix of supports and services right in their community.”
This service is made available through a $2.6-million provincial grant. It is aimed towards the expansion of family violence services for rural, remote, and Indigenous communities, stated an Alberta Health Services (AHS) news release.
Albertans can request DART services at local AHS and Covenant Health emergency departments, urgent care centres, and select maternity wards.
DART can help individuals access specialized risk assessment, crisis intervention, emotional support, education, safety planning, safe accommodations, information about local resources, and connection to follow-up services, mentioned the news release.
“We know domestic violence impacts a person’s health and it isn’t always physical. Domestic violence can take many forms, including mental, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse,” said Dr. Nicholas Mitchell, provincial medical director of addiction and mental health. “Through the Domestic Abuse Response Team, we are able to help people and connect them to services immediately.”
Regardless of a patient’s primary medical or mental health needs, healthcare providers proactively screen patients for domestic violence, offering DART services where required.
November is Family Violence Prevention Month and AHS suggests anyone impacted by family violence reach out. The Family Violence Info Line (310-1818) is available toll-free to Albertans 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
“As the pandemic forced Albertans to isolate, it may also have created an increased risk of domestic violence. And as we start to regain some forms of normalcy, it doesn’t mean life will just go back to normal for many,” said Mitchell. “Now, more than ever, we need to make sure people are aware of supports in place, where to get help and how to help others.”