The Abbotsford Police Department’s domestic violence unit has created a series of Valentine’s Day cards aimed at increasing awareness about domestic and intimate-partner violence.
The cards look just like regular greeting cards featuring typical Valentine’s Day messages such as “I love you so much it hurts” and “You knock me off my feet.” But the messages are meant to be taken literally.
The back of each card has the message: “Did you know that in 2020, the Abbotsford Police Department responded to 1376 calls for service that were related to domestic violence. The sentiment on the front of this card is not a metaphor. Someone you may know experiences abuse at the hands of someone they love. It’s time to #SpeakOut.”
The cards are available in three designs, and Sgt. Judy Bird said the APD hopes they start conversations across Abbotsford about intimate-partner violence, which many find uncomfortable to discuss.
She said the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase in domestic violence, with more people spending longer periods together at home combined with added stresses such as job loss and financial difficulties.
Compared to the 1,376 domestic-violence-related calls the APD received in 2020, there were 1,277 such calls in 2018 and 1,063 in 2019.
Bird said now is a good time for people to talk about the different forms of abuse – such as verbal, financial and physical – and get the support they need.
“We want people to talk about it. We want people to know there are resources,” she said.
Bird said the campaign was modelled after a similar one in Australia.
Det. Karen Burridge and Det. Lisa Faria of the domestic violence unit said they want to increase awareness about intimate-partner violence and spread the message that help is available for those living in an abusive relationship.
“For most people, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate their relationships and the love they share with their partner. However, for many in our community, it is just another day of living in fear of violence.”
The cards are available to the public at the front counter of the APD headquarters at 2838 Justice Way. To arrange for dropoff of a larger order contact Sgt. Judy Bird at firstname.lastname@example.org.