October marks the return of Purple Light Nights awareness month, and Chilliwack will be kicking off its local campaign with a tree lighting on Oct. 1. The month-long event, which focuses on raising awareness on domestic violence issues, has been held in Chilliwack for around five years.
According to RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Len vanNieuwenhuizen, domestic violence reports in Chilliwack are up 59 per cent.
"But that is in a way a positive thing because historically, domestic violence has been significantly underreported," vanNieuwenhuizen said, adding the rise in reporting is partly because of awareness campaigns like Purple Light Nights.
"[Domestic violence] is an ongoing issue that we're aware of. I wouldn't say it's our most prevalent issue, but it is historically an issue that we've had to deal with as police."
The local Purple Light Nights campaign is a joint effort between police-based victim services, Chilliwack Community Services, community-based victim services, the RCMP Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment and the Ann Davis Transition Society.
The tree lighting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at 45798 Alexander Ave. and local residents are invited to join in.
Residents and businesses can also show their support by shining a purple light on their front porches or windows as a sign of solidarity against domestic violence.
Purple lights can be purchased for $2 at the Crime Prevention Services building at 45877 Wellington Ave. or at several other downtown businesses.
. For more information, visit www.purplelightnights.org.
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