COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS
INTERACTIONS WITHIN COMMUNITIES
Support Networks for the Families of Murdered and/or Missing Aboriginal Women
- Program name:
Vancouver, British Columbia
- Target Group:
Families of Missing/Murdered Women
- Contact Name:
The program began in 2008 and is ongoing.
- Goals & Objectives:
To create awareness and demand the social changes that the families have been telling us they need in their communities; to bring together communities to address violence against Aboriginal women; to work with allies to make progress; to walk across Canada and bringing families together to join the walk; and to bring a message to Ottawa that there is a need to have better public safety measures for all citizens in Canada, especially for Aboriginal women and children
- Traditional/Indigenous ways:
There are different traditions across the land. W4J found that the majority of the walkers used sage as a calming medicine given the nature of the program subject matter. Many Indigenous Elders have come forward throughout the communities and welcomed W4J with their ceremonies. W4J has always respected the territory they walked into.
- Components of program:
The program attempts to fill in the gap in communities where there are no services available to families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. The W4J staff visit families of victims and provide them with referrals made available by the programs networking with Canada-wide services and programs. Programs are developed that involve families, policing and services.
- Services/How they work:
Services are offered in various communities and clients' homes across Canada.
Totally reliant upon donations and volunteers.
Relationships and Stakeholders
- Involvement of Target Groups:
"Walkers" (those family members of missing or murdered Aboriginal women who participate in the program) carry the story of their family members and carry the message to the public and to the government. Each and every one of the Walkers are a living history. On every stop they made, they heard hundreds of stories in every little community. They are carrying the weight of the walk for justice on their shoulders.
Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, Congress of Aboriginal People, Native Women's Association of Canada, Amnesty International, KAIROS, CBC, APTN, Unions (BC Federation of Labour, BCGEU, PSAC, CUPE locals,), Families of Sisters in Spirit, Friendship Centres across Canada, Pivot Legal Society, BC Civil Liberties Union, CFNR (Terrace, BC)
- Other relationships:
W4J reaches out to Women's Shelters, Friendship Centres and many unions will step in to assist.
Details of Program Evaluation
No evaluation has been completed.
- Highlights of Evaluation Findings:
- Measures of Success:
Success is measured by the increase of awareness the Walk generates.
Providing families of victims with a voice. Creating awareness through cross country walks.
Losing Walkers to violence. The harshness of the reality that Walkers are living examples of the problem facing Aboriginal women.
Things to Know to Replicate
- Replication Advice:
The program is considered replicable. The W4J might be a global movement, as women around the globe are going missing or being found murdered. People need to know that everyone has human rights and the right to basic life. Women are the life givers of society. They are human beings deserving justice; deserving of respect and honour as the life givers of society. These concepts should be at the forefront of any program endeavouring to create a like minded agency.
Community awareness and an established network of peers are essential to the success of the program. Leaders will need great organizational skills. Funding would increase the programs ability to effect change.
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