Valentine's Day, when most are celebrating romance, may seem an odd time to talk about family violence, but the province of P.E.I. says it's a "perfect day to celebrate the value of healthy relationships."
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Family Violence Prevention Week on P.E.I. runs from Feb. 14 to Feb. 20 and is an opportunity to get Islanders talking about the issue and to show that violence in relationships is not acceptable.
"Everyone in Prince Edward Island deserves to live in a society where all people are safe, respected and valued," said Premier Wade MacLauchlan in a written release Friday.
The week's theme for 2016 is family, friends and neighbours. The province is urging Islanders to learn what to do when they see warning signs of family violence at home, at work or in the neighbourhood.
'More likely to seek help'
"Islanders today are more likely to seek help when faced with family violence than they used to be," said Ann Sherman, chair of the Premier's Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention.
"More people are open to discussing family violence, but there is still work to be done to prevent violence from happening in the first place. That is why the recently released updated Premier's Action Committee strategy focuses on prevention, public engagement and education, as well as services."
People are encouraged to show their support for family violence awareness by taking part in activities happening across the province.
One of the biggest of the week's events will be the seventh annual Walk in Silence for Victims of Family Violence, which starts at noon Wednesday. Islanders are invited to walk from Province House to Charlottetown City Hall, where a reception will be held by the mayor's Purple Ribbon Task Force along with the Premier's Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention.
The province has also declared Wednesday Wear Purple Day, encouraging everyone to dress up in the colour and share their photos on Facebook and Twitter to take a stand against family violence.
"Social media is a great place to start the conversation about healthy relationships," said Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy.
"We have a collective responsibility to reduce children's exposure to violence in their homes, teach young people about respectful and healthy relations and work to get everyone engaged in the discussion."
Check out all the Family Violence Prevention Week activities here.