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Calgary ‘getting better’ at talking about domestic abuse, but more work needed: advocate

Calgary police and a local advocacy group are urging citizens to watch for warning signs following a deadly domestic situation in the community of Redstone.

Maninderpreet Singh, 22, is charged with the second-degree murder of 25-year-old Manpreet Kaur on April 21. 

Police say the death was the result of a fatal domestic assault. 

Staff Sgt. Glenn Andruschuk from the Calgary Police Service’s domestic conflict unit tells CTV News domestic abuse reporting has climbed in the last few years. 

“That infers to us that families are calling for our assistance, and we can connect them to community supports prior to violence happening in the home,” he said. 

“The police aren’t coming to break up families, we’re coming to help.”

The conflict unit is comprised of 30 officers who monitor and follow-up with chronic and escalating home violence situations across the city. 

Andruschuk says the unit is integrated in the community and works with other agencies to try to stop incidents like the one in Redstone from occurring.

Last year, more than 4,000 domestic violence incidents were reported to Calgary police.

Andrea Silverstone with Calgary’s Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society says she believes even more took place. 

“Only about 35 per cent of people who experience domestic abuse go to access a service,” she said. “People think it requires a broken bone or a black eye to call the police, but it doesn’t.”

Silverstone says incidents have increased since the pandemic. 

“So many (people) are having mental health issues, housing issues, economic issues, and the more that we have supports and services surrounding individuals as they’re facing these complexities, the less likely they are to find themselves in abusive situations that they can’t get out of.”

Her advice to Calgarians is simple: educate yourself on what to do and say if you find yourself or someone you know in a situation that doesn’t feel right. 

“The most powerful thing we can do is take action to learn how to be a good informal supporter, so we can ask our friends and family if they’re okay,” Silverstone said.

“We’re getting better at talking about domestic abuse, but we’re still not where we need to be.”

Singh is due in court on May 14.

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