Edmonton organizations work to prevent domestic violence spike during Grey Cup
Calgary study found domestic violence calls jump when Stampeders play in Grey Cup
With the Grey Cup final just a week away in Edmonton, plenty of fans will spend the coming days celebrating or screaming at their TVs.
No matter the outcome of next Sunday's game, four organizations have joined forces to ensure any hard feelings aren't directed at friends or family.
The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters, WIN House women's shelter, the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton and YWCA Edmonton and raising awareness of a potential spike in domestic violence during the Grey Cup.
Jan Reimer, Executive Director of ACWS, said sporting events can be stressful. This could lead to an increase in domestic violence and sexual assault.
A 2017 study from the University of Calgary found domestic violence calls in Calgary jump when the Stampeders take the field — but only when the CFL team takes on its arch-rival, the Edmonton Eskimos, or when the team plays in the Grey Cup.
Domestic violence calls were about 40 per cent higher than average on the day after the Grey Cup game in 2012, when the Stampeders lost, and in 2014, when they won. The median number of calls on the average day is 47, the study said.
"I don't know if we'll find something different in Edmonton," she said, noting Edmonton's police and local service providers will track the number of abuse-related calls they receive.
"We're trying to be proactive, so hopefully those numbers will be less. But it will also give us a baseline for [the] future and ways of evaluating why interventions can work."
Grey Cup Festival attendees will be able to visit an outreach booth in the Jasper Avenue area, where they can learn more about domestic violence prevention, Reimer said.
CFLer Keon Raymond and CFL alumnus J.R. LaRose will take part in the outreach.
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Resource packages and promotional posters and coasters will be handed out to bars in the area.
"There is no doubt that there is a direct correlation between alcohol and sexual assault," said Mary Jane James, the executive director of SACE.
"Major sporting events are fun, wonderfully popular, and very exciting attractions. However, as fun as they are, statistics demonstrate that they can also lead to an increase in sexual violence."
Leslie Allen, CEO of YWCA Edmonton, said the goal is to maintain the celebratory nature of the Grey Cup by keeping it safe for everyone.
"Trying to get the numbers down, trying to be preventative, trying to work with people in the community to be able to spot what domestic violence looks like, be able to talk to individuals about where help is necessary is very, very important," Allen said.
"Hopefully ... we can make a stab at making sure that people here in our community — women here in our community — are being looked after."