The executive director of the P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention Services (FFPS), says the ambitious fundraising goal aims to sustain this community volunteer organization that is dedicated to eradicating physical, sexual and emotional violence in families.
The organization, which provides a place of safety for women and children who are victims of abuse, receives roughly $670,000 in annual provincial funding.
That leaves FVPS needing to raise an additional $160,000 or so each year to offset a budget shortfall.
Annual fundraising is demanding and time consuming, taking time and resources away from providing valuable programs and services.
O’Malley hopes an endowment fund fueled by a successful campaign called Building Brighter Futures will provide a secure source of funds moving forward.
“This is a donation that can keep giving on and on and on,’’ she explains.
“Conceivably we will never touch the nest egg (of $1 million). We will only be using the interest being generated from it.’’
“Violence is changing’’
Danya O’Malley, the executive director of the P.E.I. Family Violence Prevention Services, has seen a shift in the violence Island women suffer.
“Violence is changing,’’ says O’Malley.
“It’s become more subtle, more verbal, more emotional.’’
“It’s not socially acceptable for your wife to go around with visible injuries,’’ she adds. “We know that that is not OK now. People will ask questions in a way that they didn’t used to.’’
O’Malley says Islanders are becoming more comfortable approaching a person that they fear is being abused or in seeking help on a person’s behalf.
“We get third party calls all the time on our crisis line,’’ she says.
“I think we’re getting to an interesting point in time where people feel compelled to intervene and that’s good.
’’The campaign, which was launched in the fall of 2016, has raised about $400,000 to date.
O’Malley is hopeful and optimistic about securing a commitment of $1 million in donations by the end of this year.
“So it’s a way of ensuring that crisis services and support services and prevention services are in place long-term and in a very secure way,’’ she says.
“That’s a smart way for somebody to direct their money if they want to support the organization.’’
Family Violence Prevention Services has well-established services and programs to help empower and support those affected by family violence.
A pilot program gave many Island students a good introduction to healthy relationships.
It’s All About YOUth, which was presented to Grade 7 students over the past four years, covered topics like communication and characteristics associated with healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships.
The program was funded by the Canadian Women’s Foundation and done in partnership with Women’s Network P.E.I. and Family Violence Prevention Services (FVPS).
Michelle Buttery, children’s services coordinator with FVPS, delivered the program along with Jaime Griffin.
She says the program resonated with the students.
“What the kids really seem to like is that it is a difficult topic but it is talked about in a really easy – not formal – way,’’ says Buttery.
“We had some really awesome feedback.’’
Glen Ryan Hood, 12, of Birchwood Intermediate in Charlottetown, says the program offered him “great advice’’ about how to act in a relationship.
He adds it is important to know what makes a healthy relationship.
Anderson House is perhaps the service most Islanders readily associate with FVPS.
Established in 1981, the facility provides emergency shelter on average each year to between 70 and 80 women along with 25 to 30 children.
In addition to shelter being provided on a short-term crisis basis up to three weeks, Anderson House services include 24/7 confidential crisis and support phone line, childcare services, follow-up support, referrals to outreach services and other agencies, drop-in support, advocacy, referrals to second stage housing and resource information.
“So I think that we make a big impact on the people that stay here for a short amount of time,’’ says O’Malley.
“The shelter is the first step on a healing journey,’’ she adds, “and it’s hard to notice any big picture changes after one step but it’s often the scariest and most important step. We know that a woman is at greatest risk shortly after leaving a relationship.’’
FVPS also offers safe, secure and affordable accommodations for women and children as they transition to independent living.
Outreach programs are offered province-wide to reach those affected by family violence who may not use the services of the emergency shelter, but still need some safety planning, counseling, advocacy and referrals to resources.
Youth programming is also offered in various locations across the province in junior and senior high schools.
SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) is a student-driven program supported by FVPS designed to raise awareness about the issues of abuse, family violence and helpful services.
NEED TO KNOW
Family Violence Prevention Services is working to raise $1 million in a major campaign to be better positioned to fund its valuable programs and services.
FVPS notes the goal can be reached by having 200 individuals, groups or businesses be ‘future builders’ by each donor making a commitment to donate $1,000/year over five years.
To learn how to make a donation to the campaign, visit fvps.ca/brighterfutures.