A program run by the Jessica Martel Memorial Foundation (JMMF) has expanded to Fort Saskatchewan.
The Domestic Abuse Response Team (DART) is a partnership between the JMMF and Alberta Health Services. The purpose is to bridge the gap between health care workers and domestic abuse resources.
If someone goes to the hospital, the staff are meant to screen for domestic violence.
"We get a referral from the hospitals that we work with," explained Genesis Flores, the DART team lead. "When we get a referral where somebody discloses domestic violence through informed consent the person would acquire our services. We provide 24-hour specialized services in crisis intervention."
Some of their services include safety planning, providing accommodations, community referrals, helping with transportation and they do follow-ups with clients for several months to check in. All their services are free.
The program was already working with Westlock, Barrhead, Strathcona County and Stony Plain. They moved into Fort Saskatchewan within the last month.
"It's not only been changing the discussion of domestic violence for the patients there, but I've been getting feedback from the hospitals where it's been changing the culture within the healthcare system."
Information about the JMMF and its programs can be found here.