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Female residents reminded to be mindful of their safety over the holiday

The Women's Resource Centre (WRC) is encouraging women to be mindful of their safety during the holiday season.The days around Christmas are usually a quiet time for the WRC hotline, however it generally picks up again towards the New Year, said director Elaine Williams.She said the hotline would be available over the entire Christmas season.Ms Williams encouraged women to keep safe during this time and said: “Use common sense by being aware of your surroundings when travelling alone.“Ensure that your home is secure at all times. Stay within your limits when partaking in social behaviours. [And] stay aware and in control.”She said people should not hesitate to contact the centre should they need assistance.The WRC seeks to empower women through education, awareness, training, counselling and advocacy.It provides support to women in the event of violence, discrimination or other female-related issues.It also helps women seek protection orders. If its services cannot meet someone's needs they refer them to other helping agencies.“We work collaboratively to try to ensure that the person seeking assistance is empowered through information,” said Ms Williams. “Sometimes that includes going the extra mile and making the contact for them.”The centre provided more than 1,500 counselling hours to clients between 2007 and 2009 and facilitated over 200 protection orders in that time.In 2008 they received 123 hotline calls, while in 2009 they received 149 hotline calls. As of October of this year, they had received 85 calls.Ms Williams said the hotline was manned 24/7 by highly trained volunteers. Five people recently graduated from their ten-week course on the basics of domestic violence and sexual assault.There is an increasing need for the WRC's services to provide support to the women of the community, Ms Williams said.“As a result, we have just undergone a strategic review and will soon be expanding our services to respond to the recognised evolving social issues.”The non-profit agency will also be unveiling new programmes in the near future.For more information telephone 295-3882 Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.In an emergency, call the 24-hour hotline on 295-7273.