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5th annual Hearts in the Park raises awareness about Sask. domestic violence

Wednesday was a chance for Regina residents to lay their heart on the line at this year’s Hearts in the Park event.

Led by the Circle Project Association, the event brings the community together to raise awareness for domestic violence and provide an environment for survivors to share their stories.

Community members gather in Victoria Park for different discussions, for cultural celebrations and to hang giant red hearts signifying how they are connected to domestic violence.

Circle Project executive director Ann Perry said she hopes “one day everyone will be able to gather in the park knowing that they’ve made a big difference to reduce the amount of intimate partner violence in the community.”

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This year marks the fifth annual event held in collaboration with The Offenders, Family Service Regina and the Regina Police Service.

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“Hearts in the Park is a special community event in Regina’s downtown Victoria Park,” Regina police said. “The event raises the level of awareness of the effects and impacts of violence in our community, particularly as it affects victims.”

Saskatchewan has the highest rate of intimate personal violence in Canada.

Perry said in order to break the cycle of violence, work needs to be done with the family at multiple stages.

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“That means we need someone working with the children and we need someone working with the offenders,” she explained. “We really want to see a shining bright light on the violence in our community because it’s important that we talk about these things.

“As much as it’s nice to be in the park, the perfect ending would raising the level of awareness that at some point, we could come in and celebrate together as a community that we have made a big difference in our community with decreasing the levels of violence.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

Are you or someone you know experiencing abuse? Visit the Department of Justice’s Victim Services Directory for a list of support services in your area.

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Women, trans and non-binary people can find an additional list of resources online.

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