Gender-based violence (GBV) is a human rights violation, yet it is all too common in Canada. When someone is abused or assaulted because of their gender, gender identity, perceived gender or gender expression, it’s gender-based violence. Women, Indigenous women, Black women, women of colour, 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, transgender and gender diverse people, disabled women, female newcomers to Canada and women living in Northern, rural or remote areas are all at higher risk of GBV. One report found that 44% of Canadian women had experienced intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime, for instance.
“Over the past 30 years, North York Women’s Centre has helped many women and individuals overcome the impacts of GBV,” says executive director Iris Fabbro. “Unfortunately, we know that domestic and gender-based violence only increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
When the pandemic made in-person services untenable, NYWC and other organizations offered services online and digitally. These have been a vital lifeline for many women who would be alone and isolated otherwise. Indeed, the NYWC Women’s Empowerment Series, Virtual Lounge and one-on-one support services have helped countless women during Covid. (Watch these videos featuring Taraneh Vejdani, Veronica Williams-Dalrymple and Edna Anger to find out more.) Still, the digitization of services comes with barriers and privacy and security risks that need to be overcome.
NYWC & Women and Gender Equality Canada
NYWC is grateful for funding from Women and Gender Equality Canada to develop an initiative that combats gender-based violence while reducing the barriers women face in accessing digital services. The Ending Gender-Based Violence by Strengthening the Digitization of Services project, supported by Women and Gender Equality Canada, will develop and implement, pilot and disseminate tools and strategies for service providers to mitigate barriers, privacy and security risks posed by digitization. For example, how do we educate service users and providers of the risks so that everyone can make informed decisions and stay safe?
Among other things, the project will include:
- A literature review and needs assessment research
- Building and strengthening of community and sector partnerships between service providers
- The development of tools and best practices to mitigate digital barriers and risks for women at-risk or experiencing GBV
- Development and delivery of service provider training that is survivor-centred and trauma-informed
- A curated knowledge platform on NYWC’s website to continue sharing technical tools developed through the Project and to sustain the building of awareness, capacities and cooperation in addressing gender-based violence.
To find out more about the project, contact NYWC. The work is anticipated to begin in March 2022 and wrap up in December 2023, so be sure to follow our newsletters and social media for updates as we go along.
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