Intersectional Policies and Service Provision (for Indigenous, Immigrant and Refugee Women, their Families and Communities)

 

Back to Inventory

 

Description

Domestic violence impacts women from all socio-economic, cultural and other backgrounds. However, some circumstances surrounding the experience of domestic violence and service access differ for women with diverse backgrounds. This is particularly evident for several vulnerable population groups including Indigenous women; immigrant women; women who are culturally and linguistically diverse; women with disabilities; older women; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) women; and women living in rural and remote communities. 

Back to Top

 

 

Promising Practices

✓ Involves multiple different systems working together as a means to address the issues experienced by diverse women and that rely, for leadership and expertise, on organizations that work with specific client groups;

✓ Has policies and services in place that support women with disabilities, LGBTQI individuals, seniors, women not experiencing poverty, and marginalized women in general;

✓ Provides education and training for service providers in understanding an intersectional approach to gender-based violence, including social diversity, oppression, and the social, political, economic, and cultural conditions;

✓ Uses hiring practices that encourage recruitment of staff with diverse backgrounds; and has policies guiding the work with diverse women;

✓ Ensures that services are available to every woman, regardless of her place of residence, nationality, ethnicity, caste, class, migrant or refugee status, Indigenous status, age, religion, language and level of literacy, sexual orientation, marital status, disabilities or any other characteristics that need to be considered; including services for hard to reach, marginalized and vulnerable groups;

✓ Tailors community information and education to the specific needs of hard to reach, vulnerable and marginalized groups;

✓ Responds appropriately to women and girls who face multiple forms of discrimination;

✓ Advocates on behalf of their women to address systemic barriers;

✓ Develops policies that are reflective of the cultural and social positioning within the broader community and their cultural practices and beliefs.

Back to Top

 

 

Story: Supporting Seniors in Abusive Situations

Key elements:

  • The woman faces multiple forms of abuse and societal discrimination and consequently requires specific supports to address all these factors.

  • The shelter contacted other services to collaborate with and ensure that the woman received better services and safer living circumstances.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bernice Sewell

Sage Seniors Association

Ann’s 30 year emotionally-abusive relationship had come to an end.  Now, she was a senior dealing with an adult son who violently acted out his stress about personal finances by punching the wall.  Ann felt scared.  He also took money from her fraudulently.  One day she discovered that there was only $100 left in her account – just enough to leave.  Despite her own mental-stress caused by the circumstances she resolved to leave and eventually ended up in the Seniors Safe House run by Sage Seniors Association.

Shelter staff helped her to find a subsidized apartment and to secure income she was entitled to but had not been claiming.  While in shelter she saw other seniors sending funds to their children even when those seniors did not have enough money to live their own lives.

In shelter Ann also learned to set boundaries and to be assertive in her own needs.  Life after leaving her abusive son has been difficult but she knows that seniors in abusive situations can find a better life after abuse.

~ Excerpt from article by Chris Zdeb published in Alberta Prime Times

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back to Top

 

Organizations Providing Tools / Resources

 Organization/Region 

Contact

Tools

 Interview 

Sage Senior's Association

Safe House

Edmonton

Bernice Sewell

Director of Operations

780-701-9002

bsewell@mysage.ca

 

Agreement to Receive Services

Case Example

Client Feedback Survey

Eco-map: Blank Wheel

Eco-Map: Client Wheel

Eco-map: Medicine Wheel

Housing Tool

Intake Form

 

Interview Summary

Sonshine Centre

Calgary

Joy Johnson-Green

Executive Director

403-266-4785

jjohnson@sonshine.ab.ca

Contact organization for information and resources.

Interview Summary

The Today Centre

Edmonton

Cindy Furlong

Executive Director

780-455-6880

cindy.furlong@thetodaycentre.ca

Family Support Booklet

Assessment/Intake Initial Client Sheet

N/A


Back to Top

 

 

Promising Practices: Culturally Appropriate Services for Indigenous Women, Their Families and Communities

✓ Uses traditional approaches encompassing cultural identity and healing, including Elders, ceremonies, use of the Medicine Wheel, prayer, First Nations - Indigenous languages, sweat lodges and smudging; focusing on reconnection with culture, family, and community;

✓ Examines root causes and consequences of violence, including the recognition of effects of colonization and intergenerational trauma;

✓ Instead of a short-term crisis intervention model, uses a long-term holistic approach to support Indigenous women and children fleeing domestic violence so that support is available for them throughout their journey through the system;

✓ Collaborates, co-creates, and uses a shared decision-making structure involving Elders, Indigenous leaders, Indigenous communities as well as women and their families;

✓ Acknowledges diversity in cultural approaches and traditions associated with different Treaty areas and First Nations;

✓ Uses strategies that address the needs of Indigenous women living in rural and remote communities, focusing on lack of housing, service integration, and access to child care and transportation;

✓ Uses hiring practices that ensure staff contingent mirrors the diversity of clients served;

✓ Provides opportunities for Indigenous families to participate in traditional courts that support the resolution of conflict using traditional ceremonies and approaches;

✓ Addresses basic needs, provides transportation as well as food ensuring that urgent needs are addressed as well as contributing to participant engagement and reconnection with culture;

✓ Helps meet the need for safe, secure, affordable, non-discriminatory, culturally sensitive housing in sufficient quantity and locations that respond appropriately to Indigenous women’s situations. 

 

See References  

Back to Top

 

 

Story: Culturally Appropriate Services for Indigenous Women and Their Families

Key Elements:

  • The shelter built trust with the woman over time and offered services only when she was ready for them.

  • Culturally specific and appropriate means of communication were used.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Elder V. Lilian Gladeau

A woman came to the shelter looking for guidance.  These were like baby steps for her.  We were patient and supportive along the way.  Eventually it came to a place where she was coming in regularly and wanted to stay there.  We already saw this as a success as she trusted us and we had waited for her until she was ready to seek more help.

She left the abusers house ten years ago because he was abusing their daughter.  This is why she eventually entered the shelter and she spent the next ten years hopping from shelter to shelter.  

About one and a half years ago the shelter was able to find her a safe place to live in Maskawcis.  She has the stability of her own place.  She is taking courses to upgrade her education.  Her daughter is in High School.  It is working for her because she wanted it.  We don’t push anything on anyone unless they want it.  Our role is to be there to provide support when the woman is ready for it.

We can speak to women in their own language and understanding their community which is a great source of comfort and for building trust.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back to Top

 

 

Organizations Providing Tools / Resources: Culturally Appropriate Services for Indigenous Women

 Organization/Region 

Contact

Tools

 Interview 

Calgary Counselling Centre

Calgary

Christine Berry

Director

403-691-5910

christine.berry@calgarycounselling.com

Contact organization for information and resources. 

N/A

Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society

Calgary

Harold Pliszka

Manager of Programs & Clinical Services

403-826-1899

hpliszka@discoveryhouse.ca

Disseminating Definitions of Trauma-Informed PracticeN/A

Maskwacis Community

Red Deer

V. Lilian Gladeau

Elder

780-312-9447

Contact organization for information and resources. 

Interview Summary

Miywasin Centre

Medicine Hat

Marlene Cadotte, BSW RSW

Counsellor

403-526-0756

macdotte@miywasin.ab.ca

Self-Care Medicine Wheel

N/A

Siksika Family Violence Initiative

Siksika

Suzanne McLeod

anishinabeikwe@hotmail.com

Initiative is no longer operational.

Contact Suzanne McLeod for information and resources.

N/A

St. Paul & District Crisis Association

St. Paul

Rick Makokis

Elder, Family Support Worker

780-645-5195

rickmakokis@yahoo.ca

Powerful Emotions: Grief, Loss, Shame and Guilt

Interview Summary

Strengthening the Spirit Committee,

Aboriginal Domestic Violence

Treatment Program

Calgary

 

Laura Ducharme

Co-Chair

403-206-2103

laurad@homefrontcalgary.com

Framework for Services to Aboriginal Peoples 

Impact of Colonialism

 

Interview Summary


Back to Top

 

Promising Practices: Culturally Appropriate Services for Immigrant and Refugee Women, Their Families and Communities

✓ Provides accessible settlement services for newcomer families (e.g., having limited eligibility requirements, providing support in multiple languages and with multicultural staff, and having flexible hours of operation);

✓ Uses an integrated holistic service delivery model addressing a combination of different issues including domestic violence;  

✓ Provides broad range of settlement supports to help newcomers negotiate multiple immigration considerations, including community-based programming, supportive counselling, language training, civic education, employment and education opportunities as well as programs for youth;

✓ Is built on awareness of the importance of hierarchy in different cultures and how that impacts women’s interactions with staff.  In their interactions with women the staff are mindful and intentional about flattening the hierarchical relationship to facilitate more effective connections with the families;

✓ Focuses on support and information provision, while respecting women’s choices and ensuring their safety;

✓ Engages with multi-cultural communities, family members and faith leaders to build their understanding of domestic violence and engaging them in the work with women;

✓ Engages with domestic violence service providers for relevant consultation, expertise and/or partnership initiatives;

✓ Equips staff in settlement organizations to recognize signs of abuse and high risk;

✓ Completes a thorough needs assessment with the whole family, which informs the types of services and referrals that are needed;

✓ Addresses basic needs, provides free childcare on-site, and includes food and associated traditions as important processes in the work with these families;

✓ Assists newcomers to negotiate the courts and the legal system, including provision of information about accessing and qualifying for legal services and accompanying clients to appointments with lawyers;

✓ Engages and elevates the legal awareness of men, community religious leaders and members of other community organizations with respect to domestic violence; while creating spaces for non-stigmatized dialogue.

See References

Back to Top

 

 

Story: Integrated Domestic Violence Education in Settlement Services

Key Elements:

  • The woman received non-judgemental, culturally and linguistically appropriate counselling services which allowed her to make the best decisions for her circumstances and context.

  • The woman received education about her rights and obligations as a parent under Canadian law to help her transition in to her new context.

  • The woman’s husband was invited to participate to the extent to which he wished until he was ready to learn more but permission for his participation was predicated on his wife’s desire to make their marriage work.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rehka Gadhia

Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association

‘Joanne’ was a young divorcee, highly-educated from India.  She came to Canada in 2010 as a self-sponsored permanent resident.  Her family in India were concerned about her marital status and in 2012 she returned there to marry a young man.  She was touched by his willingness to marry a divorcee, despite cultural norms.  He came to live in Canada with her. 

When he arrived in Canada he became very controlling and abusive. He did not allow her to contact her family and monitored all her movements.  She gave birth to a baby boy in 2013.  Joanne hoped this would change her husbands behaviour but in 2016 he punched Joanne in the face in front of the child.

Children’s Services got involved with the family.  Joanne was referred to the Family Conflict Program by her multicultural broker.   When the Counselor first spoke to Joanne, she was very determined to make her marriage work and not divorce again.  The culturally sensitive support made it very easy for Joanne to open up to the counselor about the importance of keeping her family together.  She mentioned to the counselor about the respect she has for her husband due to breaking the norm of marrying a divorcee.  She knew that he needed a shift in perspective to see the impact of his behavior on their son.   Joanne was very keen to receive couple’s counseling in their first language with someone who understood the cultural dynamics.

Despite initial reluctance to work on relationship building skills Joanne’s husband joined the counseling sessions to learn co-parenting skills.  The counselor worked closely with the couple and the CFS case worker.  After a few counselling sessions on co-parenting, Joanne’s husband realized his mistakes.   He concluded that his sense of powerlessness from the move to Canada made him feel inferior to his wife and drove his behaviour in this way.  Gradually, the counseling for co-parenting focused on the marital relationship.  

Joanne participated in CIWA’s Cross Cultural Parenting Program to learn about parenting and family laws in Canada.  CS has now closed their file as Joanne feels safe, secure and happy with her husband.  Joanne and her husband expressed their gratitude towards the counselor involved and stated that the counseling has helped the couple truly improve their marital relationship. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back to Top

 

Organizations Providing Tools / Resources

 Organization/Region 

Contact

Tools

 Interview 

Calgary Immigrant Women's Association

Calgary

Rekha Gadhia

Manager of Family Services

403-444-1759

RekhaG@ciwa-online.com

Curricula and Manuals

 
 

Risk and Protective Factors

Workshop Evaluation

Interview Summary

Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers

Edmonton

Ana Nunez

Settlement Practitioners, Complex Cases

780-424-7709

anunez@emcn.ab.ca

Family Violence Safety Plan During Crisis

 

Interview Summary

Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS)

Calgary

Rupinder Hehar

Program manager

403-710-3431

rimpy.hehar@pchscalgary.com

Integrated Holistic Service Mode

 

Interview Summary

 

Back to Top