Funeral held for alleged domestic violence victim

As Family Violence Prevention Month started Thursday, friends and family of Lacey Jones Mcknight gathered to remember the 20-year-old whose death police say was part of an ongoing domestic dispute.

Thursday also marked the start of Family Violence Prevention Month

As a funeral was held for Lacey Jones Mcknight, today also marked the start of family violence awareness month. 2:57

Family and friends got the chance to pay their final respects to Lacey Jones Mcknight Thursday.

Last week, the 20-year-old's body was found in a car in Calgary's northeast and her former fiance, 29-year-old Kristopher Guenther, has been charged with second-degree murder.

Police said her death was the result of an ongoing domestic dispute.

The funeral of Lacey Jones Mcknight was held Thursday afternoon at the Centre Street Church. (CBC)

Mcknight's family is asking that donations in her memory be made to the Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society.

Violence prevention an ongoing fight

Thursday also marked the start of Family Violence Prevention Month.

Victim advocates launched what they call the "break the silence" campaign to recognize the 200,000 Albertans who report domestic abuse every year.

It hasn't been a good fall on the domestic violence front in Calgary.

A month ago, a mother killed her six-year-old son in the family's apartment.

Andrea Silverstone, the co-chair of a group of local agencies that fight domestic violence, says charities could use more stable funding from the province. (CBC)

Andrea Silverstone, the co-chair of a group of local agencies that fight domestic violence, says the recent high-profile deaths could possibly help those in the same situation.

"When awareness raises and the media covers it, people realize that they might be in an abusive situation and they access support," she said. 

Victims can look to local groups for help

Experts say victims also need to feel as though they can speak out when they're in trouble.

"I think once you make that and you realize you're not alone, it's easier to not be ashamed and to reach out and get the help," said domestic abuse survivor Melody Bundt Witwer.

Those who need help getting out of a violent relationship can call Connect at 403-237-5888.

Domestic abuse survivor Melody Bundt Witwer says victims need to feel as though they can speak out when they're in trouble. CBC

The Calgary Counselling Centre is also offering a domestic abuse webinars on its website.  

Calgary police are called to about 16,000 houses a year because of family violence.

Supt. Sat Parhar says there are a dozen officers who specialize in the problem, but it's not enough.

"You look at those numbers — 16,000 calls — and we deem 300 to 400 to be high risk at any given moment," he said. "It's tough to say we can't use more people."