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Together We are Wiser

We have a common agenda to create a society without violence against women and children.

Find powerful stories of coordination and collaboration and the importance of cultivating strong relationships. This is a space to also share your stories with us.

Projects & Initiatives

1. Mandatory Charging Project  (2016-ongoing) was proposed by the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW). The project was designed to engage Building a Bigger Wave member VAWCCs and allies, to look at the impact and effectiveness of mandatory charging. Resources were pooled by over 40 groups (VAWCCs, provincial groups and individual organizations). It is the first collaborative research project for BBWON. The research was be conducted on multiple levels and with multiple areas of focus, including gathering survivor perspectives, service providers and police services. A scan of the literature was conducted of other provinces and countries’ approach to intimate partner violence. Reviewing the impact of mandatory charging is one of the recommendations that came out of Transforming our Communities: Report from the Domestic Violence Advisory Council for the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues (2009). The report places particular emphasis on conducting an intersectional analysis to consider the impact on marginalized communities of women. The research report is available in English and French. See also the report-back that describes the project and summarizes initial discussions of VAWCCs.

2. Building a Bigger Wave Forums (See reports: 2011: EN or FR and 2015: EN or FR) Two provincial forums have generated the mandate for BBWON. The forums brought VAWCC delegates together for the first time in 2011 to think as a province about the state and strength of coordinating committees. Priorities and actions arise from the discussions and presentations. Evaluations clearly show the value of bringing people together as a counter to the isolation that often occurs in VAW work.

3. Sisters In Spirit is an ongoing action item for BBWON following from the 2011 Forum to show solidarity with the families of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. VAWCCs committed to supporting the Sisters In Spirit vigils every year on October 4th as a way to build relationships in our communities with First Nations and indigenous leaders and organizations. In the first year, thirty-five VAWCCs reported participation in their local vigils and/or contributed in some way by educating their membership and staff. Stories about the vigils appear in the BBW newsletter.

4. Community Report Cards explore the collective responsiveness of a community to domestic violence. The Report Card process has been undertaken by VAWCCs in at least two communities in the Niagara and Grey-Bruce regions in the past decade. The Niagara Report Card was profiled at the 2011 forum as another potential provincial project that could generate data on the intersections between sectors and systems while also engaging a cross-section of professionals and citizens in mutually reinforcing activities toward achieving collective impact.

5. Southwest Region VAWCC (SWRCC) demonstrates the value of regional coordination and collaboration. SWRCC is comprised of representatives from 10 local VAWCCs and other local advocates and allies. The committee has been meeting since 2005 and has led several regional projects and events. The membership is open and anyone with an interest in VAW issues and coordination is welcome. In June 2014, members discussed the success of the committee. These are the elements that SWRCC believe are essential:

  • The meetings provide slow time for thinking and reflection on issues
  • Regular communication – meetings notes so that people not present for decisions can keep up and provide input
  • Variety of input options – all voices heard and we listen for resonance in setting directions, priorities (always with our eye on the big prize – ending VAW)
  • Leadership moves around (although a couple of people usually do the legwork)
  • We work with whoever shows up
  • We expect to be treated with goodwill and respect
  • We want differences of opinion and a critical lens to disrupt our own ‘business as usual’ mindsets
  • Relationships have been built over time (the bedrock)
  • We do not ‘represent’ our VAWCCs – we attend as individuals and carry the discussions and information back and forth

SWRCC members individually agree that their longstanding commitment to the committee reflects the personal benefits of feeling supported and connected as well as being part of a larger group with a bigger picture. All of the members believe that they make unique contributions and that those contributions are valued. Much of the success of SWRCC can be found in creating the conditions where people feel less isolated, supported and are free to speak and think about complex and specific issues. The committee is informal in structure and enjoys a serious sense of ‘play’.

These are some of the projects and initiatives of SWRCC: 

Regional forums were held in 2010. A spring forum was held to profile the Aboriginal VAW strategy with community stakeholders and to discuss how VAWCCs can support the strategy in local communities. A second forum in the fall brought VAWCC members together with senior policy leaders from the Ministry of Attorney General to discuss dual charging and the issue of high risk teams that do not include community partners. 

The No Wrong Door project was a regional initiative (2014-2015) funded by MCSS and led by the Southwest Region VAWCC to look at the service experience of women and men seeking help in the mental health, addictions and VAW sectors. Focus groups and forums were held in six communities in the southwest. The project was designed to be replicated in other areas. The goal is to generate intersectional opportunities for service users and providers to exchange perspectives that can aid in developing strategies to improve the service experience. The project was presented at the 2015 forum as a potential provincial project. You can find the report here.

Becoming Trauma and Violence Informed (TVI) as a Region is an ambitious project that was launched with a regional forum in November 2015. Researchers from Western University, Nadine Wathen and Marilyn Ford-Gilboe and community leaders presented the TVI approach and concrete examples of how to make organizations trauma-and-violence informed.  A second forum was held in April 2018. Dawn and Ed Novak were invited to present their compelling and devastating account of events that led up to the 2006 murder of their daughter Natalie, who was a student at Ryerson University. See: A Constructive Analysis of the Murder of Natalie Novak. Forum participants explored how a trauma-and-violence informed approach can support greater cohesion in the system. The next TVI forum is scheduled for April 2019 and will focus on cultural safety. 

Significant investments by the provinicial government in 2016-17 to address Human Trafficking was the catalyst for a regional forum hosted by the SWRCC in 2018 to profile the different projects and community approaches. The forum brought together over 90 service providers and advocates from across the region. Read the report. A second forum will be held in Nov 2018.