Family Violence Initiative
COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS
INTERACTIONS WITHIN COMMUNITIES
Raising Awareness in Broader Community
- Program name:
Native Women's Shelters Network
Quebec Native Women Inc.
- Target Group:
- Contact Name:
France Robertson, Promotion of Non-Violence and Women's Shelters Coordinator
450-632-0088 ext: 2239
In 2003, Aboriginal shelter workers in Quebec were grouped into a new structure coordinated by Quebec Native women: the Native Women's Shelters Network. This was the culmination of several years of efforts to strengthen the capacities and power of action of these shelters. The Network currently includes eleven shelters established on Aboriginal communities' land as well as in urban areas, outside the community. Among these eleven shelters, three are Inuit.
- Goals & Objectives:
The objectives of the Native Women's Shelter Network are to: offer resources to learn about and share knowledge of traditional Aboriginal cultures and approaches; serve shelter workers with a forum for discussion, references and training; support the shelters in their efforts to build awareness in Aboriginal communities about conjugal violence and about the importance of using the shelter services available; serve as a clearinghouse for gathering together experiences and knowledge in order to promote non-violence in the communities; and support the shelters through various activities and actions that will help to improve the delivery of their services (administrative policies, regulations, code of ethics, etc.).
- Traditional/Indigenous ways:
The Network utilizes an Aboriginal approach to their services. In this regard, the Network shelter workers share a common vision in their analysis and their intervention in family violence situations that covers both the family and the community for an overall process of healing, which includes women, men and children. Aboriginal spiritual traditions are still profoundly integrated into daily life. According to some shelter workers, human existence cannot be understood by Aboriginal people without this relationship with the sacred.
- Components of program:
The Network currently includes eleven shelters established on Aboriginal communities' land as well as in urban areas, outside the community. The women who make up the Network have been meeting regularly since 2003 to create links, discuss issues and receive training and information. This collaboration is allowing members of the Network to broaden their knowledge and to improve their expertise in the work they are doing to ensure the greater safety of victims and to support the communities in the promotion of non-violence.
- Services/How they work:
Services are rendered off site in the community and on site.
Funding is provided by: the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
Relationships and Stakeholders
- Involvement of Target Groups:
In the bi-annual meetings, the Network can discuss any shelter's requests for assistance. Meetings are held in September and February each year in different communities. The Network has been instrumental in the creation of many of the tools they currently use.
Fédération des femmes du Québec; Regroupement Provinciale des Maisons d'Hébergement
- Other relationships:
Details of Program Evaluation
An evaluation has been completed.
- Highlights of Evaluation Findings:
There is value in visiting communities, seeing how other shelters operate and sharing stories and practices about the work being done.
- Measures of Success:
Success is measured by the feedback from shelters.
The program has increased the effectiveness of shelters through networking and developed and implemented tools that are being used by shelters to help women.
It is an emotional process for frontline workers who work in isolated communities and do not have clinical supervision. There is an issue of confidentiality for some communities as some shelters are situated in their own communities. Because of community dynamics and relationships of families within the communities, it is often challenging to work in on-reserve shelters. There is a need for more advocacy of the program.
Things to Know to Replicate
- Replication Advice:
The program is considered replicable. Need adequate funding for activities and tools to support shelters in their work. There should be no charge to participants. Twice yearly meetings with the shelter network are ideal. Rotate meetings to different shelters in communities.
Adequate funding and training to service providers is necessary for the program to achieve success.
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