Council learns about Rowan House, Safe at Home program

By Rob Vogt Local Press Writer

There is a program coming to Claresholm that will see women and children suffering from domestic violence allowed to stay safe at home while the aggressor will leave the situation and stay at a home where he will receive the services he needs. It is called Safe at Home and it is a project of Rowan House.

Cam Burbank, project manager of Safe at Home for the Rowan House Society, appeared as a delegation at the Nov. 12 meeting of Claresholm town council, where he described Rowan House and the new project. The mission of Rowan House is to provide crisis intervention, long-term support and education for those affected by family violence in rural communities. Their vision is that every person is safe, secure and lives without abuse.

Essentially, Burbank said, the focus is on building violence-free communities. The core values of Rowan House are the delivery of services using a trauma-focused lens with emphasis on safety; trust; collaboration; choice; and empowerment. Rowan House started in January of 2000 in a tiny basement in Black Diamond, that consisted of three rooms that could house up to six women. The new facility opened in High River at the end of 2012. It is a seven-bedroom home with 24 beds. Their service area is south to Claresholm, east to Vulcan, west to Bragg Creek, and north to the Calgary city limits. The programs offered are the emergency shelter; children’s program; outreach; preventative education; transitional housing; and Safe at Home.

The statistics for 2018-2019 saw 225 women and children admitted. A lot were unfortunately either turned away or referred to other agencies. The emergency shelter is a short-term acute shelter for women and children who experience domestic violence and abuse. It is a short-term which means they can house and support individuals typically for a 30-day stay. In addition, they are able to extend their stays on an as-per case basis. Child programming is on site for shelter residents to help women with the care and support of their children. Rowan House is not a licensed day care, but moms in the shelter can access these services while staying at Rowan House. Outreach is for individuals who do not need to escape their situation, but need additional supports. This is typically referred through Alberta Works and typical services include one-on-one crisis support; court support; educational awareness; and support for people transitioning out of the shelter.

Preventative education is in four parts: youth education and awareness such as presentations in schools and the community on topics such as bullying, kindness and healthy relationships; a women’s group, which is a six-week program on healthy relationships and self-esteem; leading change, which is engaging men and boys in domestic violence as a holistic approach; and community programming, such as healthy relationships and domestic violence awareness.


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