United Cultures of Canada Association
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Peace in Families Award

Assisting victims of violence to save their life and rebuild it, or assisting abusers to refrain from violence and live a life of dignity is not an easy mandate. It requires courage, commitment, and an unfailing hope. All those who have dedicated their lives to prevent violence in families are working to build a society where children can be raised in safe, loving homes. Through our annual Peace in Families Award, we recognize their work and salute them.

Peace in Families Award 2016

Maria Fitzpatrick

It is indeed very unfortunate that we, as a society, have stigmatized serious issues like domestic violence and mental health in a way that those who suffer from these, must suffer alone, in silence and shame. In Nov., last year, Maria Fitzpatrick, MLA for Lethbridge-East, decided to share at the legislature the story of her horrific abuse at the hands of her husband to explain why Bill 204 should be passed unanimously. The bill came into force in January this year, allowing victims of domestic violence to flee an unsafe home without being penalized for breaking a tenancy lease. Victims of domestic violence often fear that they will lose respect in society if the story of their abuse becomes known. Fitzpatrick dispelled this fear for all victims and survivors. She has set an example that will bring about lasting changes in how we view and deal with domestic violence. She currently serves as Chair of the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections, Standing Orders and Printing and as a member of the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future.

Jana G. Pruden

Jana G. Pruden, a crime reporter, formerly with the Edmonton Journal and now with the Globe and Mail, has seen first-hand the harsh realities of domestic violence. Having covered countless cases over the years, often after the abuse turned deadly, she knows all too well the toll domestic violence can have on families. In her project for the Edmonton Journal titled “Domestic Silence: Meet the Faces of Abuse” published last November, Jana helped put a face to the victims of domestic violence. It told the stories of more than a dozen men and women who had been victims, perpetrators, and witnesses of domestic violence. This powerful work inspires victims to find their voices in coming forward. In September, she wrote about numerous cases across the country where victims in murder-suicides resulting from domestic abuse remained nameless for privacy reasons, despite the desires of family members to shine a light on the problem. Jana continues to advocate for victims in her role as a journalist by telling their stories, and by questioning the secrecy that surrounds many of them, especially those who die at the hands of their abusers.

Heather Morrison

Heather Morrison is the supervisor of the Edmonton Family Violence Prevention Teams and has worked for the City for over 25 years, trying to prevent family violence through public education presentations, networking with stakeholders, and developing relevant policies that include a protocol on how to assess and respond to family violence. Heather has assisted women in sharing their stories through various avenues including the publication of “Moving Forward: Journeys of Strength and Hope” and a training video for professionals called “Freedom to be Who We Are…a Future without Family Violence.” She works diligently on initiatives to end violence such as Engaging Men and Boys’ survey, the Family Violence Prevention Month Proclamation Event, and most recently, the City Council’s Gender Based Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Strategy. Heather has also been a recipient of the Government of Alberta’s Inspiration Award.

Jill Dean

Jill Dean is the President of the Lives in Transitions program that focuses on empowering and educating women whose greatest barrier to employment is the impact of family violence in their lives. The program has encouraged several women to regain their identities, confidence, strength, and ultimately, has allowed them to heal. Jill’s motivation to support women in overcoming violence originates from personal tragedy. She and her family were impacted by family violence directly when she suffered the loss of her sister in 2008. Jill sharing her story with other women in her program has allowed them to feel understood, heard and has provided them with much-needed hope. Jill is a recipient of the Government of Alberta’s Inspiration Award and two Diamond Awards. She also chairs the Win for WIN fundraiser to support this shelter for women and children.

Peace in Families Award 2015

Morag McLean

Morag is a Registered Nurse and has worked in many areas of healthcare, including the OR, surgery, medicine, government, community health, and parish nursing over the past 30 years. For the last seven years, Morag has been working with the Victorian Order of Nurses in the People in Crisis Program at Lurana Shelter and A Safe Place, providing care to women and children seeking refuge from domestic violence. In 2011, she received the Victoria Order of Nurses Gold Award for Innovation for developing a protocol and training for frontline workers to assist in the identification and care of victims of strangulation. This protocol is being used by agencies and shelters throughout Canada and the United States. She has also developed training sessions for Diverse Voices, Second World Conference of Women’s Shelters, and P.E.I. Premier's Action Committee on Family Violence. 

Yvonne Chiu

Yvonne is the founder and Co-executive Director of the Multicultural Health Brokers Co-operative. Over the past 23 years, Yvonne has been involved in many key initiatives to end domestic violence in immigrant and refugee communities. She has researched and developed a unique cultural brokering practice based on a family empowerment model and an ecological framework in which many factors impacting families' well-being and relation health, including pre-migration realities, post-migration struggles, gender power structure, cultural orientation, community, and system factors are taken into consideration. She has partnered with researchers to apply this model to support human service sector to address domestic violence. Yvonne has been instrumental in engaging bi-cultural and bi-lingual community workers and other natural leaders to deliver key messages to prevent domestic violence in their respective cultural communities. She has promoted the concept of "continuum of care" that includes prevention, early intervention, crisis response, post-crisis support and long-term family support. In her leadership, her organization has partnered with other agencies to prevent domestic violence under REACH Immigrant Refugee Initiative Phase 1 – 2012-2014.

Sean Armstrong

Sean Armstrong, Staff Sergeant, Domestic Offender Crimes Section, Edmonton Police Service, supervises investigations into serious and complex domestic violence and senior abuse cases. He manages the Domestic Violence Intervention Team, including the domestic violence docket court constables and the Police and Crisis Team. He also ensures that the EPS policy complies with provincial standards for domestic violence investigations. He represents the EPS on several community organizations, including the Domestic Violence Police Advisory Committee, Community Initiatives Against Family Violence and a national working group on police response to domestic violence. Sean inspires hope in others by looking for permanent solutions to larger complex issues of family violence.  He is a mentor and has encouraged students from the Grant MacEwan University to do their practicums at the EPS in his section. He is also a recipient of the Men of Honour 2015 award presented by the Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation.

David Kabyn

Sergeant David Kabyn, Domestic Violence Intervention Team, Edmonton Police Service, manages the unit responsible for investigation and intervention of domestic violence occurrences. Through his work, he exhibits an extraordinary commitment to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and works collaboratively with others whether they are from within the EPS, or are professional colleagues or community members. Dave is known as someone who goes out of his way to work with team members to keep victims of violence safe. He also understands the diverse needs of our community and works to enhance the lives of seniors, ethnocultural communities, and LGBTQ.

 Peace in Families Award 2014

Jan Reimer

After working for nine years as a City Councillor, Jan served as Edmonton’s first woman mayor from 1989 to 1995. Her term is known as the term of many “first ever” and innovative initiatives, including initiatives for Safer Cities, Waste management plan, Edmonton Arts Council and Aboriginal Advisory Committee. As Chair of the City’s Budget Committee, the new budgetary process that she implemented won Edmonton an international award of excellence. The Senior Friendly program that she developed was undertaken on a national basis in 1999, the International Year of Older Person. For the last ten years, Jan has served as the Provincial Coordinator for the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelter. Under her leadership, the ACWS hosted the first ever World Conference of Women’s Shelters, which was attended by 800 delegates from 51 countries. She is a founding member of the Canadian and Global Network of Women’s Shelters. She also played a key role in a collaborative project with other shelters and Dr.Jaquelyn Campbell of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing on the utilization of the Danger Assessment. She consistently advocates for core funding for shelters. Jan has been instrumental in engaging men and boys in the fight to end domestic violence and gender oppression. She has dedicated her efforts to involve all organizations and community members to provide their best services to women, children and men affected by domestic violence. Her many awards include International Award of Excellence, Woman of Distinction Special Award of the YWCA, an award from the Society for the Protection of Architectural Resources in Edmonton, Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal, Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case, University of Alberta’s Alumni Award, City’s centennial award, Laurel Award and Premier’s Award of Excellence.

Deborah A.Miller

Deborah A. Miller, B.A, LLB. Senior Counsel, Family Law Office, is responsible for five Family Law Offices located in Edmonton, Wetaskiwin, Red Deer, Calgary, and Lethbridge. She has also served Edmonton communities in various volunteer capacities. As a volunteer counselor for Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton, she advocated in the Canada-wide fight to disallow the right of defense counsel to use victim’s personal sexual history to shield clients from culpability. As legal counsel for Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, she drafted affidavits for gun control legislation to remain in force as guns are often used in family violence situations. She volunteered as legal advisor both to the board and women residents of WIN House and A Safe Place shelters. She is the founding member of A Safe Place, Breakfast Fundraising Committee and Protection and Restraining Order Project. She has also served as a member of the Safer Cities Task Force, a committee member of Inter-Agency Committee Against Wife Assault and a board member of the United Way of Edmonton and many other organizations. She co-developed WAVES, a group counseling program for the YWCA, and taught the portion on legal matters. For her volunteer work to promote family violence prevention initiatives over the past 33 years, she has been honored with the first ever Lifetime Achievement Award by Alberta Human Service.

Peace in Families Award 2013 

Constable Alana Savage

Constable Alana Savage has developed and led a unique and ground-breaking initiative - Domestic Violence Reduction Strategy Program. Under this program, a minimum of two Victim Support Team officers in each patrol squad conduct safety planning and intervention on domestic violence files identified by the Domestic Offender Crimes Section. Additionally, offender management, also a component of this program, has been streamlined to ensure consistency across the patrol divisions, specifically regarding domestic violence offenders who are released with conditions. For her work, she received the Webber Seavey Award on behalf of Edmonton Police Service at the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) Conference held in Philadelphia in 2013.

Sister Lucinda Patterson

For the last 16 years, Sister Lucinda has been working to end domestic violence. She is driven by her dream for women and children to live in a violence-free home. As the Executive Director of Lurana Shelter Society, she is passionate about creating a safe and non-judgmental environment for women and children accessing care at the shelter. By raising awareness of the negative effects of family violence, she has successfully secured funding for programming that enhances health and well-being of the clients. In the past 13 years, Sister Lucinda has developed children's programming from a single focus program, that consisted of two employees, to a multi-level program that includes a childcare coordinator, three child support workers, four childcare staff, and a youth outreach worker. Sister Lucinda's work does not end at the shelter doors; her dedication and passion for this vulnerable sector of the community is felt across Canada.

Veena Khatri

Veena Khatri has been a social worker with the City of Edmonton for over 20 years. Veena’s efforts reveal a depth of understanding of the reality of people’s lives, particularly those who have traveled to find Canada as their home. Her work with “PARIVAR” - Peaceful Alliance Rejecting Injustice Violence and Advocating Respect  - stems from community conversations that brought attention to the level of violence in the Southeast communities of the City of Edmonton, specifically South Asian communities. This initiative would have remained a thought without her gentle way, guidance and expertise. Veena holds everyone at the table responsible for addressing the issue of violence, believing that violence cannot be prevented by individual efforts. Violence in the families is a community issue that requires a community response to end it.  

Peace in Families Award 2012

Liz John-West

Liz is the Program Supervisor of LASALLE Residence overseeing Second Stage Shelter. She has worked in various roles to assist women to live a better life. At Catholic Social Services, she helped women with FASD, at Edmonton Institution for Women, she supervised and monitored the inmate movement, at McDougall House, supported women to live a drug free life, at the Hope Mission, researched the specific needs of women living in the inner city, at the George Spady Centre, she provided emergency shelter, and at the Bissell Centre, she worked as Parent Child Advocate. She is extensively involved with the inner city Community Revitalization of the Giovanni Caboto Park and Micah Challenge to raise awareness of global poverty and injustice. She sells Indian spices to raise funds to support orphans in Rwanda and brothels in India.

Anne Magusin

Anne works as Duty Counsel for the Edmonton Protection Order Program. She has also worked as Staff Lawyer, Family Law, Legal Services Board of NWT and Legal Services Society of BC. As a Duty Counsel, she meets 1500 individuals every year to provide legal advice to domestic violence victims and presents 40 EPO applications every month on an average. Her success rate in court is more than 90%. She is highly respected as an expert in the Protection Against Family Violence Act and other court procedures and protection orders. She has built bridges between the courts and police service, resulting in a better response by the frontline officers to the complaints of domestic violence. Her professional approach, broad knowledge base, and tireless advocacy for victims of domestic violence is truly inspirational.

Peace in Families Award 2011

David Veitch 

Superintendent Veitch has recently been assigned to Community Policing Bureau, Violence Reduction Strategy to work toward making Edmonton a violence-free city. In his journey to this position, he has worked with the Spousal Violence Teams, Victims Services Unit, School Resource Officers Unit, Crisis Team and Zebra. He was also involved with FVER that was a shorthand list of questions to help assess spousal violence and risk factors for victims and Men’s Alternative Temporary Housing and Support Services that offered men charged with partner assault a place to stay and a male support counselor. He co-chaired the committee to develop a one-stop agency to end violence. He initiated a review process to ensure a police balance of Investigation, Intervention and Prevention, particularly in the area of spousal assaults. He has hosted events like “Potluck Partnership” to have a face-to-face conversation with cultural communities to understand their issues.

Tigist Dafla

Tigist has worked as a Settlement Counselor and Outreach Worker for the past 20 years. In these roles, she has developed many useful programs for immigrants, youth, and refugee women. She has promoted awareness of gender- specific issues such as female genital mutilation in the larger African community. She has worked closely with core groups of the Canadian Council of Refugees and represented it at the World Conference Against Racism in 2001. She has helped launch the Injera project to bring EPS and refugee communities together to end violence. She has also educated 30 cultural brokers to prevent family violence in ethnocultural communities.

Peace in Families Award 2010

Gregg Janz

Gregg holds his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Counselling Psychology and has been working at the YWCA Edmonton since 1997. In his role as a counseling psychologist, he sees men and women, individuals, couples and families to address the impact of domestic violence on their lives. He not only educates and supports them but also empowers them to take action that can move them toward safety and prevent future violence. He has been instrumental in developing policies of the YWCA of Edmonton’s Counselling Department to respond to domestic violence. As the lead psychologist in the department, Gregg has supervised and educated many psychologists-in-training. Healso spends time at the Lurana Shelter where he sees women and provides crisis counseling and referrals at no cost. His dedication to working within the non-profit sector providing counseling and his personal beliefs and values, which are clearly and resolutely opposed to domestic violence at all levels of influence, make him a role-model worthy of endorsement.

Sue Languedoc

A veteran social worker with 30 years experience, Sue is the founder and Executive Director of the Aboriginal Consulting Services Association of Alberta. This association offers free counseling and guides individuals through their healing process. In her role at this centre, she helps victims of family violence in a manner that supports and rebuilds their dignity, self-respect and confidence. She shares her wisdom with humility, patience and fire. She approaches her work with tremendous respect for her clients, for their culture and for their ability to transform their life. The innovative and ground breaking work that she has done and continues to do in the area of aboriginal healing has been extra-ordinary. She has been the primary link to the aboriginal community and very effective in addressing concerns related to family violence. She is a mentor to newer workers in the sector, truly worthy of her following. She is an incredible asset to Edmonton, the province of Alberta and the entire country in the field of family violence prevention.

Fion Lee

Fion is a social worker with the Responding to Victims of Family Violence in the Chinese Community Program. She has assisted many victims of domestic violence to stay safe by helping them break their social and cultural barriers, access multiple community services, and negotiate police and judicial processes. Her cultural expertise, advanced social work skills, linguistic abilities in Cantonese and Mandarin, together with her compassion for victims and commitment to end violence, have developed her unique profile as a domestic violence worker. With her ability to empathise, she has helped several victims, who are extremely fearful and resistant, to break their isolation and formed great working relationships with them. She is always ready to go that extra mile to help her clients. Because of her professionalism, her strong work ethics, and her wonderful ability to build relationships with clients and co-professionals, Fion Lee has become a vital and highly respected member of Edmonton family violence community.

Peace in Families Award 2009

Shelley L. Collins

Shelley has spent twenty years working full-time as a Youth Worker and Probation Officer. She has also worked as a women’s shelter counselor and career practitioner.  She supervises a targeted caseload dealing strictly with domestic violence offenders and works hard to assist them to receive the help they need to end the violence in their lives. She serves as an active member or co-chair on many committees such as the Family Violence Protocol committee and Sherwood Park outreach committee. She also spends time as an actress for a Social Justice Theatre Group. She volunteers to help women and children who have been living in violent situations whenever possible. She is a person who truly cares about ending domestic violence in Edmonton communities. 

Sharon Chrismas

Sharon has worked in the field of family violence in varying capacities since 1997. She began her work at a women’s shelter. In 2000, she joined John Howard Family Violence Prevention Centre to do outreach support for women experiencing intimate partner abuse. In 2007, she made a total shift and began to work as Addiction Counsellor at the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission providing addiction counseling and support to the offenders of family violence to help them make healthy and responsible choices in their relationships. She has a strong commitment to ending violence and promoting safety in the lives of both victims and perpetrators.

Surinder Dhaliwal

Surinder works as a multicultural health broker at the Grey Nuns Hospital. As a health broker, and very often as a volunteer, she works tirelessly to improve the lives of women from immigrant and refugee communities, knowing that their needs are both different and unique. She has been a particularly strong and result-oriented advocate for this group, striving to obtain the necessary services that can address their special needs and concerns. On numerous occasions, she has gone far beyond her call of duty to assist victims of domestic violence in a crisis situation. She truly believes in empowering women, giving them the strength and conviction to face everyday challenges in their lives.

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