November is Family Violence Prevention Month

The Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) is dedicated to supporting those affected by sexual violence each and every day of the year.

In Alberta, November is Family Violence Prevention Month (FVPM). The goal of FVPM is to raise public awareness around family violence and to educate communities on how to prevent it.

What is Family Violence:

Family violence is when someone uses abusive behaviour to control and/or harm a member of their family, or someone with whom they have an intimate relationship.

Family violence includes many different forms of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as neglect carried out by family members or intimate partners. It may include a single act of violence, or a number of acts that form a pattern of abuse. Family violence can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences for victims and for those who see or hear the violence.

Family violence can happen to people of all ages, abilities, cultural and spiritual backgrounds, gender identities and sexual orientations. Victims can be in romantic relationships, divorced, children (birth, step, adopted or foster), grandparents, or individuals with guardians or caregivers.

Family Violence and COVID-19:

Rates of family violence increase during and following natural disasters, public health crises and economic downturns. It is important to know where you can turn if you are experiencing family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Child sexual abuse

With the added stress and time together caused by COVID-19, families with unhealthy relationships are more likely to experience child sexual violence.

Social isolation

Isolation is a risk factor for family violence. Many people who experience family violence use their support of friends and family to manage their situation. Social distancing and self-quarantine or isolation during the COVID-10 pandemic can make it more challenging to access valuable relationships, but there are ways to stay connected.

How You Can Stay Involved All Month Long

Throughout November we’re featuring different ways you can get involved by promoting awareness. Want to get involved? We’ve got you covered. We’ve created custom FVPM graphics for you to share, tweet and tag CASASC throughout the month, along with many other resources and events:

-Purple ribbons – Small silk purple ribbons will be available at both CASASC locations throughout the month. Wear the purple ribbon in unity to show survivors of family violence that they are not alone.

-Purple #iRespect t-shirt – CASASC will have a special edition MADE TO Respect t-shirt available. Staff are encouraged to wear theirs throughout the month, and on Purple Day.


-Purple Day – Thursday, November 19th

Wear purple on this day to honour those affected by family violence. We believe in creating a world in which everyone feels safe in their homes. Show us your purple by sporting your purple #iRespect t-shirt, the purple ribbon or other purple items.

-Film Showing – Thursday, November 19th, Time TBA

Two short films on the topic of family violence will be shown at Carnival Cinemas. Time TBA. This event is a partnership between CASASC and the Central Alberta Film Festival (CAFF). We are so excited about this partnership and being able to feature two Alberta-made short films.

-Silent Witnesses (Purple Silhouettes) – TBA

CASASC will be hosting an outdoor exhibit with silent witnesses (purple human figure cut outs) to bring awareness to the issue of family violence in our community. The exhibit will be able to be viewed from your vehicle. More details to come.

-Ask An Educator Day – Friday, November 13th

On this day our amazing education team will be hosting a social media takeover of CASASC’s accounts. They will be answering questions throughout the day and will feature resources and information about programs and several topics. Later in the day, Coffee Chat with CASASC (our live chat show) makes it return with Bailey and Kailee both going live to answer questions. Make sure to tune in throughout the day.

-Made With Love Raffle – Ongoing month of November

The Made With Love store is hosting a raffle for CASASC throughout the month of November. Stop in the shop (5560 45 St Unit E15, Red Deer, AB)to purchase a ticket for the raffle basket, full of handcrafted items from the store. We are thrilled with this partnership with a local business.

Family Yoga Flow

Join Bailey Martineau (trauma-informed certified kids yoga teacher) and Sarah Maetche (yoga teacher in training) for a yoga flow designed for the family, whatever family means to you – parents, grandparents, stepkids, family by choice, found family or fur family.

Family Yoga Flow is offered at two different times: 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 5.

Family Yoga Flow is a one-hour session is designed for EVERYBODY – all abilities, ages and bodies. It is offered free-of-charge, but donations to CASASC will be gratefully accepted. 

A waiver will be sent out via email prior to the session.

We will send out the link (via email) for the Zoom session to those registered one hour before the scheduled session. For those who want to attend via Instagram Live, please join the feed (@CASASC3) at the scheduled time.

Link to morning session (10 a.m.):

Link to evening session (6:30 p.m.):

CASASC recognizes Orange Shirt Day

CASASC recognizes September 30th as Orange Shirt Day. This is a day we acknowledge the impacts residential schooling has had on Indigenous people in Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. It is a way to commemorate the residential school experience, honour the healing that survivors and their families have and continue to go through, remember the children who did not make it home, and begin conversations around healing and reconciliation that have previously not taken place. 

Sept 30th was picked to recognize Orange Shirt Day as the day when Indigenous children would be taken and sent to residential schooling for most of the school year, sometimes into the summer. This day helps to reaffirm that every child matters. 

CASASC staff wore the orange Made to Respect t-shirt on Sept. 30th as a visual symbol of our awareness of the need for ongoing reconciliation. We are working to foster respect and mutual understanding with all Indigenous people and communities.

CASASC recognizes that we are situated on Treaty 7 land to the south of the Red Deer river, the traditional territory of the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina and Stoney Nakoda peoples, and that the Central Alberta region we serve falls under Treaty 6 traditional Métis, Cree and Saulteaux territory to the north of the Red Deer River. We honour the First Peoples (First Nations, Metis, Inuit) who have lived here since time immemorial, and we give thanks for the land we reside on

Story Time

CASASC educators read two stories in a special edition of CASASC Story Time on Sept. 30th.

“As educators, we reaffirm the statement that every child matters,” they said. “We are here today to read some stories related to Indigenous children’s experiences with residential schooling and encourage you to seek further information about the experiences of Indigenous people. At the end of the stream, we will recommend some resources you can seek out.”

You can watch the Orange Shirt Day edition of Story Time here

Resources:– truth and reconciliation commission’s website with all 91 recommendations

5th Annual Central Alberta Yogathon – the Virtual Experience

Roll out your mat for a great cause May 23rd! FREE!

Sat, 23 May 2020
8:30 AM – 4:30 PM MDT

The Rotary Club of Red Deer Sunrise presents the 5th Annual Central Alberta Yogathon – the Virtual Experience, in support of the 35th Anniversary of Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre providing education and support to individuals, families & communities throughout Central Alberta.

Connect with Central Albertans for a powerful day of mindful movement, wellness & rejuvenation. a Registration is FREE and open to people of all ages and abilities . Create your own experience as you choose from 10 different yoga & yoga-related sessions, led by certified instructors. The event also features short fitness demos, wellness tips and a virtual wellness trade show. The celebration kicks off at 8:30 AM, and closes with a sound bath meditation at 4:30 PM.

Here is how it will work:

Once the schedule is confirmed, you will be emailed with the link to choose your sessions. Sessions include Power Flow, Gentle Flow, Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Fusion and even some yoga for the little ones.

  1. Register
  2. Wait for the schedule choices link in your email to choose your Virtual Yogathon Experience
  3. Sign in on line May 23rd
  4. Enjoy!

NEW group – Intro to mentalization

Join us for this psycho-educational group that offers an introduction to mentalization.

This mentalization-based group is designed for individuals that come from broken attachments, are in unhealthy peer attachments and have a history of trauma, sexual abuse and a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD).

Mentalization-based therapy (MBT) is a specific type of psychotherapy designed to help people with BPD. Its focus is helping people to differentiate and separate out their own thoughts and feelings from those around them.


What are the aims of MBT?

-MBT aims to improve a person’s ability to mentalize in close relationships.

-Having improved mentalizing ability means:

-Experiencing a more stable sense of who you feel you are

-Being less likely to let emotions get the better of you

-When emotions do get the better of you, you are able to regain your composure more quickly

This should mean that you become stronger emotionally, engage in harmful behaviours less, are less likely to get into interpersonal conflicts, and are better able to deal with any conflicts that do arise.


How does MBT help you improve your mentalizing?

To be good at something, you need to practice it. In the MBT program, participants can practice mentalizing skills together with the therapist and other group members.


How is MBT structured?

The MBT program consists of:

  1. Mentalization-based problem formulation
  2. Crisis plans
  3. Psychoeducational group therapy: 12 weekly sessions, each 1.5 hours-long
  4. Individual therapy: once a week for around 18 months
  5. Group therapy: weekly sessions of 1.5 hours for around 18 months
  6. Possible addition of art therapy
  7. Appointment(s) with psychiatrist for relevant prescriptions if needed
  8. Collaboration with other agencies on work-related support


What does the therapist do in MBT?

MBT therapists may provide advice directly, but they mainly try to think and reflect with you about problems to help you gradually develop your own solutions. This means taking on a curious and ‘not-knowing’ attitude about yourself and others – other patients in the group and people in your everyday life – particularly about experiences, thoughts and feelings.


What does the patient do in MBT?

-To make good use of treatment, patients are encouraged to:

-Talk about events from their own lives, especially recent events that have been stressful

-Try to understand more about these events, using a curious, open and ‘not-knowing’ attitude

-Allow other group members to take part in this process by exploring their own problems and other people’s problems in the same way

-Work with the therapist and the other group members in the same way, to understand events that happen within the group

-Try to develop a constructive relationship with the group members and the therapist

As part of the program, patients are encouraged not to have contact between each other outside of the therapy sessions. If they do so, they should try to talk about these contacts in the therapy sessions.


What else do I need to know?

The individual and group therapists meet regularly and discuss how therapy is going.

The group therapist does not usually mention in the group anything he or she has discussed with patients in individual sessions. You, the patient, get to choose what you want to talk about, and when.

However, sometimes the group therapist can address specific serious topics directly, even if the patient does not want to talk about them. For instance, these may relate to violence or threats, serious breaches of the treatment contract, or suicide attempts.


The group is facilitated by Michelle Moger and CASASC therapists.

Find out more info and/or to reserve your spot email or call 403-340-1124.

NEW parenting group

Join us for Rest, Play, Grow – a book discussion group starting on Jan. 14. at 6 p.m.

Rest, Play, Grow is grounded in the integrated, attachment-based and developmental approach to making sense of kids created by Gordon Neufeld.

Participants will read two chapters of Rest, Play, Grow by Debra Macnamara during the week and then come together to share insights, questions, and experiences. In case a participant is not able to do the reading, there will be a review of the material at the beginning of each meeting.


Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (Or Anyone Who Acts Like One)

Based on the work of one of the world’s foremost child development experts, Rest, Play, Grow offers a road map to making sense of young children, and is what every toddler, preschooler, and kindergartner wishes we understood about them. Baffling and beloved, with the capacity to go from joy to frustration in seconds, young children are some of the most misunderstood people on the planet.


Chapters (topics covered):

-How Adults Grow Young Children up

-The Preschooler Personality: Part beauty, part beast

-Preserving Play: Defending childhood in a digital world

-Hungry for Connection: Why relationship matters

-Who’s in Charge? The dance of attachment

-Feelings and Hurts: Keeping children’s hearts soft

-Tears and Tantrums: Understanding frustration and aggression

-Alarmed by Disconnection: Bedtime, separation, and anxiety

-“You’re Not the Boss of Me”: Understanding resistance and opposition

-Discipline for the Immature: Buying time for the child to grow up

-How Young Children Grow Adults Up


Discussions are facilitated by Michelle Moger and CASASC therapists.

Rest, Play, Grow runs for 6 weeks.

Find out more info and/or to reserve your spot email or call 403-340-1124.

Vigils held to remember victims of violence

A moving vigil was held in Red Deer and Lacombe on Dec. 6 to remember victims of violence.

Attendees gathered at Red Deer City Hall Park and at gazebo in the Lacombe Memorial Centre park to bring awareness on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

This day marks 30 years since the tragic mass shooting at l’École Polytechnique de Montreal where 14 young women lost their lives in a senseless, targeted act of violence. December 6 is designated by Parliament as a national day to commemorate this tragedy and reflect on the troubling fact that for women, girls and LGBTQ2 individuals across our country violence continues to be a daily reality.

Attendees at the vigils were given candles and white roses to hold while various speakers made remarks about the impact of gender-based violence in our community.

Speakers at both parts of the vigil included Rayann Tonner from the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter, Patricia Arango of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre, Debbie Barron of the Lacombe Victim Service Unit and Elder Corky Larsen.

City of Lacombe Councillor Thalia Hibbs addressed the group gathered under the gazebo on behalf of the City.

Both parts of the vigil were MCed by Kellie Cummings from the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre.

#YourWordsMatter at Red Deer College

Your words matter. The language we use to talk about others and explain our experiences matter. Words can be seen as a form of gender-based violence (GBV).

The Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) continued its’ mission to eliminate sexual violence by partnering with the Students’ Association of Red Deer College (SA) for #YourWordsMatter, an GBV awareness event.

#YourWordsMatter, the awareness and info fair and silent march through campus, occurred on Thursday, Nov. 28 at Red Deer College.

The purpose of this event was to bring awareness to the widespread issue of GBV within our society. GBV can be defined as violence that is directed at an individual based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender. It includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, threats, coercion, and economic or educational deprivation, whether occurring in public or private life.

#YourWordsMatter was hosted on the fourth day of the SA’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, which began on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ended on International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10.

The awareness and info fair featured interactive displays, resources and information about eliminating GBV in our community.

For the first time on the RDC campus, a silent march was held. This was meant to be a quiet and proactive, yet visual way to bring awareness to GBV throughout the RDC main campus. The silent march departed from the Forum at 11:45 a.m. with attendees wearing purple and carrying positive messaging around the prevention of GBV in our community.

Everyone was encouraged to wear purple on the day – to show support for survivors of GBV. A special edition purple #iRespect t-shirt was also released on this day.

What is gender-based violence?

Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence that is directed at an individual based on their gender identity, gender expression or perceived gender. It includes physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, threats, coercion, and economic or educational deprivation, whether occurring in public or private life.

In Canada, GBV disproportionately impacts women and girls, as well as other diverse populations like Indigenous Peoples, LGBTQI2+ and non-binary individuals, those living in northern, rural, and remote communities, people with disabilities, newcomers, children and youth, and seniors.

GBV is not limited to physical abuse but includes words, actions, or attempts to degrade, control, humiliate, intimidate, coerce, deprive, threaten, or harm another person.

Why is this important?

Individuals in Canada and around the world continue to face violence each and every day.

GBV can manifest in many different forms. GBV can happen in the private or public sphere, in kitchens, bedrooms and streets, stores and boardrooms or in refugee camps. It can include street harassment (like groping, cat calling, whistling, or unwanted attention in public spaces), sexual assault, sexual harassment and intimate partner violence.

The roots of GBV are all around us – in sexist jokes that demean women, in media messages that objectify women, in the rigid gender norms we impose on children.

Why #YourWordsMatter

Words matter. Your words matter. The language we use to talk about others and explain our experiences matter.

Words, the language we use, can be a form of GBV.

Intentionally using someone’s incorrect name or pronoun is an act of GBV.

Joking about that girl’s body from your class with your buddies is an act of GBV.

Making threats to harm another person is an act of GBV.

Calling someone a name, bullying, humiliating or insulting them on Instagram is an act of GBV.

Making fun of someone’s faith or religion is an act of GBV.

Making online threats to someone’s children, family, pets or friends that cause fear is an act of GBV.

Sending sexually explicit texts and photos of your genitals to someone without their consent is an act of GBV.

Your words matter. You can help take action against GBV by using your words to question, call out or speak up against GBV acts.

Your words can empower others. Your words can inspire others. Your words have power.


Tickets on sale for Calgary Roughnecks holiday home opener

We’re doing it again!

CASASC and the Calgary Roughnecks, Calgary’s professional box lacrosse team, have partnered together yet again to raise funds.

Support CASASC at the Roughnecks home opener on Saturday, December 21st. The Roughnecks will be hoisting their championship banner to the rafters!

Come for the holiday experience and support a great cause.

Roughnecks games are fast, fun and entertaining for everyone. CASASC raises money for each ticket that’s sold. That’s right. It’s as easy as going to the link below and making your purchase directly with the Roughnecks.

Venture to Calgary on your own for the game, or new this year, have a worry-free trip to and from the game by riding on the CASASC #iRespect bus. A nominal fee will be charged to ride the bus departing from downtown Red Deer. Contact CASASC for more details about busing.

2019 Front Line Service Providers’ Awards

The CASASC team attended the 2019 Front Line Service Providers’ Awards on Nov. 6 at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club.

The 15th annual awards ceremony, hosted by the Domestic and Relationship Violence Committee (DRVIC), is a time for front line service providers to come together to recognize each other and the meaningful work being done within these communities.

CASASC Outreach Counsellor Alma Garbe was nominated for a Front Line Service Providers’ Award for forging connections and facilitating partnerships with communities based on their needs.

“For CASASC, she is the bridge to delivering services to Indigenous populations,” wrote her nominator. “Whether it is partnering with Maskwacis Health, Rocky Mountain House Victim Services or a rural hospital, Garbe works collaboratively with the community and beyond to ensure those impacted by violence are assisted.”

Ronnie Biletsky of the Red Deer Regional Hospital was nominated for the Patrick Dillon Leadership Award by CASASC. Biletsky oversees the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) within the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

“Ronnie is a senior nurse who supervises the two programs in the hospital ER,” wrote her nominator. “She is aware of the smallest details and aims to improve the services and patient experience every time she is around. She has the ability to seamlessly be present wherever she is needed most. She has dedicated her life to support those affected by sexual violence and domestic violence in the hospital setting.

With her dedicated and resilient spirit, she has shaped the Central Alberta SART program into a recognized and admired program by other cities in the province. It is a program recognized for its’ excellence.”

CASASC also presented a special recognition to Therapist Deb Murray and Outreach Counsellor Alma Garbe for their dedicated years of service to the agency. Both Murray and Garbe are retiring at the end of the year.

CASASC would like to congratulate all of the nominees and recipients at this year’s award ceremony.