…Over the past year, government has taken significant action on domestic violence and on missing and murdered women. That’s why, this year we will introduce a long-term, comprehensive strategy to move towards a violence-free B.C. and ensure women, including Aboriginal and vulnerable women, have the supports they need to help prevent violence, to escape from violent situations, and to recover if they have been victims of crime.” 

Provincial Government of BC, speech from the Throne 2014

 

Reality and Causes of Violence against our Women and Girls...

Violence against Aboriginal women and girls continues to be a disturbing reality across Canada. Aboriginal women experience the highest rates of violence, including extreme, life-threatening violence, in our country. The almost 1200 cases1 of missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada is our national tragedy.  

Aboriginal women are five times more likely to experience domestic violence than non-Aboriginal women, and three times more likely than non-Aboriginal women to be killed by someone they know.  Often families are stuck in a cycle of inter-generational violence stemming from colonization, residential schools, and racism against Aboriginal people.  Many Aboriginal women fail to acknowledge or report the violence against them for fear, shame, financial dependence, and the accepted normalization of violence in their lives.  

The causes of violence against Aboriginal women and girls are rooted in historical factors including colonialism, racism, isolation and residential schools. The impacts of these historical factors have resulted in profound harm to Aboriginal communities including loss of culture and language, alienation, poverty, unemployment, lack of life skills, and an erosion of traditional knowledge, values and skills, including parenting skills2

Importance of BC Friendship Centres in Ending the Violence and Help with Healing....

In BC, Friendship Centres (FCs) provide a wide range of support and prevention programs and services to urban Aboriginal people that directly relate to domestic, family, and sexual violence and provide supports that are based on holistic healing of whole families and communities in a way that is based in Aboriginal culture and tradition.

Friendship Centres are the first point of contact for many urban Aboriginal people. They also provide an open door policy offering programs and services to all Aboriginal people including Metis women and Aboriginal women leaving violent relationships in their home communities (on-reserve) and those living on-reserve with a Friendship Centre nearby.

With the range of activities, programs and services that happen at each FC; no one knows if a person is participating in an Elders Council, cooking in a Community Kitchen, attending a training program, picking up a child from a preschool program or attending a Healing Circle because of a personal experience with domestic violence. 

With the multi-dimensional activities, programs and services available at Friendship Centres, there is no stigma attached to accessing services. Offering programs and services to end violence at Friendship Centres will reduce barriers to healing that many Aboriginal people experience. Barriers are removed by having all services under one roof, and in many Friendship Centres people are able move to their “next step” in healing through other programs and services available within the same Friendship Centre.

Need Help? 

Victimlink BC
1-800-563-0808
www.victimlink.bc.ca


Domestic Violence BC
www.domesticviolencebc.ca


Sheltersafe
www.sheltersafe.ca


Women's Transition Housing

www.bchousing.org


Children who Witness Abuse Services
http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/


Kids Help Phone
1-800-668-6868

 

“Taking Action to End Violence”

BC Friendship Centres Action Plan to End Violence against Aboriginal women and Girls

Recognizing the urgency of this issue, the BCAAFC created an Action Plan through a two stage engagement process with the 25 BC Friendship Centres.

The BCAAFC Action Plan to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women and Girls leads in the spirit of the February 2015 "A Vision for a Violence Free BC" plan, the February 2014 Provincial 3 year Domestic Violence Plan and BC’s Speech from the Throne, where the Government of BC committed to the following: 

“…Over the past year, government has taken significant action on domestic violence and on missing and murdered women. That's why, this year we will introduce a long-term, comprehensive strategy to move towards a violence-free B.C. and ensure women, including Aboriginal and vulnerable women, have the supports they need to help prevent violence, to escape from violent situations, and to recover if they have been victims of crime.”

 

 

Ending Violence Resources

A Vision for a Violence Free BC (Feb. 2015)

http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/victimservices/shareddocs/pubs/violence-free-bc.pdf

BC’s Provincial Domestic Violence Plan (Feb. 2014)

http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/podv/pdf/dv_pp_booklet.pdf

Ministry of Justice report: Safety and Security of Vulnerable women in BC (2013)

http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/public_inquiries/docs/BCGovStatusReport.pdf

RCMP: Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women - An Operational Overview (2014)

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/mmaw-faapd-eng.pdf