The United Conservative Party (UCP) pledged more support to help women’s shelters and sexual assault counseling centres across the province.

This story also appeared in LiveWire Calgary

UCP candidates Jeremy Nixon of Calgary-Klein, Tanya Fir of Calgary-Peigan and Pamala Rath, who’s running in Calgary-Mountain View, held a press conference alongside Kim Ruse CEO of Fear Is Not Love and Andrea Silverstone, CEO of Sagesse Wednesday morning at the Fear Is Not Love Head Office to announce the UCP’s $20 million commitment to protect victims of crime in Alberta.

“The number one job of government is to protect citizens and ensure the safety of families and communities,” said Nixon.

“By increasing provincial support to these essential frontline services, our United Conservative Party will help ensure the victims of crime have the supports they need to heal.”

The UCP also plans on building upon Clare’s Law, which they introduced in 2021. The Clare’s Law program helps women seek out information on their partners that involves past instances of domestic violence.

The purpose of the program is so women can be informed about their partners if or when they feel unsafe or at risk.

Silverstone said it was important for everyone to help raise the voice of those impacted by domestic abuse.

“It is important for all Albertans to know they have a right to ask for information about their partner, and to be connected to local support through a Clare’s Law application,” she said.

Domestic violence on the rise

Canada has seen a sharp increase in domestic violence all across the country in the past five years.

According to Statistics Canada there were 127,082 victims of police-reported family violence (violence committed by spouses, parents, children, siblings and extended family members) in 2021, a rate of 336 victims per 100,000 population. It’s the fifth consecutive year of increase.

Ruse said that increased funding for women’s shelters would be welcome news.

“Domestic violence and abuse is a complex public safety issue that affects all of us. It cuts across gender, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, religion, region, and politics,” she said.

“We all have a role to play in helping prevent it and need the support of sector leaders, law enforcement, elected officials, and our communities to ensure individuals and families stay safe.”

Safety online is also a major part of the Safe Street Action plan.

This part of the plan intends to protect people of all ages, but Nixon put emphasis on the protection of kids.

“When children spend more time online they are at risk of being approached by those who want to do harm, The United Conservative Party will be increasing funding to Alberta’s law enforcement response team, internet and child exploration unit ICE, to target offenders and bring them to justice,” Nixon said.

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