Opening Fort St. John's lines of communication

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Erica Fisher

Erica is a reporter for Moose FM and in Fort St. John, B.C. She grew up in Victoria, B.C. and received her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec.

When all the data is collected by the end of January 2013, Project Coordinator Clarice Eckford wants to have as many perspectives on the issue as possible.

"We hope to get a really accurate picture of the things that contribute to violence against women and girls, the attitudes and behaviours in the culture of Fort St. John that could possibly contribute to the problem," she explains.

That includes assessing who's most at risk, what people's needs are, and what the community's attitude about violence against women and girls is. In order to do so, the project needs both men and women from all backgrounds and experiences. In addition to an online survey that will be available November 28, the Peace Project will be holding four focus groups with a maximum of 10 people over the age of 19 involved.

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"It's an opportunity for people in the community to talk about what they think contributes to violence against women and girls in Fort St. John," says Eckford. "Talk about their perceptions of the roles of women in the community, and the roles of men in the community, and if they feel comfortable even reporting violence if they hear it or if they witness it or experience it, and some of the barriers and gaps and things that they think need to be filled."

Each focus group will last two hours, and childcare and a small honorarium will be provided. While the focus is on violence against women and girls, Eckford says it's also important to learn about men and their experiences.

"We really want to know where their needs lie, and if they're feeling supported in terms of emotional support," she says. "Emotional wellness isn't necessarily a focus men, particularly at work, but I think that that's something we want to talk to men about."

In creating a community plan to combat this issue, one of the first steps is to raise awareness of the problem in Fort St. John. Eckford says many people are unaware of the high rate of domestic violence in  the Energetic City, which is even higher than Dawson Creek's.

Once this data is collected, it will be analyzed and turned into a report, with a plan that will eventually be implemented in the community. For more information and to get involved, visit

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