The Today Family Violence Centre is an innovative service that provides a single source of help and a safe place for families affected by family violence in Edmonton and area. The Today Centre provides support to people like Sherry*, a 35 year old woman, who was referred to Today Centre by the Emergency Protection Order Program. She applied for an emergency protection for herself and her children after her husband disclosed to one of their children that he was going to kill their mother. Sherry was seen by a Today Centre resource worker and shared that her partner was physically abusive, as well as extremely controlling and emotionally abusive. The partner also exhibited stalking behaviors, making her very fearful that when she found a new place to live, he would find a way to follow her and discover where the family was living.
Sherry was feeling a lot of guilt for allowing her children to live under those circumstances for so long. The resource worker reminded her that the important thing was that she had now made a change and was doing everything she could to keep herself and her children safe. The resource worker worked with Sherry to detail a safety plan including things such as not telling anyone the location of where she was now living unless absolutely necessary, always keeping her cell phone on her, and calling 911 immediately if her husband breached the EPO, and to avoid going anywhere alone. They also developed an escape plan to get help and get her and the children out of the home quickly if her husband ever discovered where they were living.
With the support of the Today Centre, Sherry found a new place for her and her children to live and had made arrangements to stay with a friend until the new place was ready. She was referred to Legal Aid to get a lawyer to start the proceedings for a parenting order. She confided that she was feeling very apprehensive about going to court and that this was the first time she had ever lived on her own, so the resource worker connected Sherry to a co-located outreach worker from Edmonton John Howard Outreach Program for ongoing support. Sherry and her family continue to receive services from the Today Centre and are hopeful about their future.
*Names have been changed to protect identity.