Central Interior Women’s Institute
The Central Interior WI hosted a Panel on Violence at their yearly convention in Vanderhoof on May 7.
The abuse of alcohol, drugs, bullying, the problem of gangs, have all led to violence that is escalating at alarming rates in our community.
The panel consisted of individuals who have seen first-hand the effects of violence in our areas.
They gave permutations of how their roles in their profession are affected by acts of abuse and violence.
Once the panel members had spoken, the discussion was opened up to the audience, which consisted of Women’s Institute members and invited guests.
We had a good selection of speakers and guests including our mayor, counselors, school principles, a representative from our local Safe Home and the Ministry of Families.
The conversation that followed this was both informative and serious.
It seems that there is no point in denying that there is a problem, the question is what can we do about it?
Some of the topics that were discussed were that in many cases the RCMP do not have the power to act; the court system is sluggish, with very few drug offenders ever getting prosecuted.
Some of the following were suggested solutions: court times need to be improved with offenders moved through quicker, our town needs more RCMP officers, especially a Drug Enforcement Officer.
People are afraid to come forward and report on acts of violence.
What are ways to disclose information without risk?
Do we need programs in the elementary schools that would educate our children on the perils of drug abuse?
At what age should these programs be implemented?
We as a community have to become more aware of what is happening in our communities so that we can begin to solve the problems.
We must become involved by going to counselor meetings, taking part in crime watch programs, writing our local members of Parliament, keeping our young people busy and involved.
Parents need to know what is going on in their children’s lives and do not believe for a moment that it cannot happen to you or your family.
We have the right and duty to speak up when we see wrong things happening.
It takes a whole community to raise and protect its children.
The Women’s Institutes are a voice to the government as we are the largest body of women in the world affiliated with the government.
WI is an educational organization that works to improve lives in the home, community and around the world.
The Central Interior Women’s Institute has set up a bursary at Nechako Valley Secondary School for those students moving on to careers that help promote non-violence.
What did we hope to accomplish with this meeting?
We wanted to get a clearer picture of the scope of the problems and how to take positive steps to help solve them.
The Women’s Institute is committed to seeing our community become once again a healthy, safe place to live.
For more information on local branches go to www.bcwi.ca