Family Violence Prevention in a Cultural Context

The REACH Immigrant and Refugee Initiative (RIRI) is focused on building capacity in a number of ethno-cultural communities to prevent family violence.

The intention is to reduce risk factors, strengthen protective factors, and provide resources, support, community solutions and culturally appropriate education to address and reduce family violence in Edmonton.

This project utilizes a holistic family and community-based approach to reduce the likelihoood of family violence and is focused on engaging with men, women and youth.

Cultural Navigators

Cultural navigators, leaders in their ethno-cultural communities, engage and mobilize community members to come together to hear messages about healthy families and the issues that impact their families' health.

Their role is integral as they assist the families to navigate systems and provide interpretation, advocacy and support. They also liaise between systems and the ethno-cultural communities by sharing information about the systems with the communities, and sharing information on the cultural contexts of the communities with the systems.

The cultural navigators work with their community to develop strategies that build healthy families and reduce the likelihood of family violence. These communities include:

  • Eritrean
  • Filipino
  • French African
  • LGBTQ+
  • Middle Eastern
  • Oromo
  • Somali
  • Sudanese

Cultural navigators mobilize community members to attend educational sessions as issues emerge in their families and communities.

Capturing the Cultural Navigator's Work

In early 2016, Judy Piercey and Ian Stewart of Pen & Lens Communications met with cultural navigators and the families that they work with to record and share their stories. This work resulted in four stories on the following topics:

For every $1 invested, a return of at least $3.65 in social value is achieved. This social return on investment (SROI) value is associated with reductions of family violence incidences and suicide prevention of LGBTQ youth.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is comprised of organizations interested in exploring ways to prevent family violence in ethno-cultural communities.

  • Africa Centre
  • Catholic Social Services
  • Changing Together
  • City of Edmonton - Citizen Services
  • Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
  • Islamic Family and Social Services Association
  • Multicultural Health Brokers Cooperative
  • REACH Edmonton


If you are connected to families from emerging ethno-cultural communities and would like a session on healthy families or healthy youth relationships, please contact Justin Otteson (780-238-3756) or Helen Rusich (780-619-8780).