Bathurst Finch Women’s Safety Training

Project Name

Bathurst Finch Women’s Safety Training

Project Partners

Lead Agency: North York Women’s Centre (NYWC)
Legal Partner: Downsview Community Legal Services

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Project Summary

This project will provide information on the law as it relates to immigration women who are facing intimate partner abuse and will locate the training in a newly established community hub that houses a range of community based programs and services. The training will be directed to the staff working out of the hub and will provide materials and referrals so that participants in the training will not only learn about the law but know where and how to work with existing resources in the community.

Legal Topics for Training

The training to be provided includes key elements of criminal and immigration law as they relate to a woman who is experiencing intimate partner abuse and will be framed around the issues that abused women most often face. An introduction to the complex area of family law will be provided and the training will focus on the key areas that a worker should know about in order to best assist a woman to identify the legal issues she may be facing and how to obtain the legal assistance that she needs.

In particular, the training will prepare local community workers to be able to take advantage of a new service that NYWC is offering where family law certificates for two hours of free consultation are available to women experience abuse.

Target Audience

The target community is Toronto’s Bathurst-Finch community which has a very large population of non-English-speaking newcomers; many of whom are of East European origin, with a substantial proportion of Russian-speaking immigrants. The predominant languages spoken in this neighborhood are Russian, Hebrew, Tagalog, Farsi and Korean.

Key Activities

The training/information will be delivered in three formats:

  • A one-day training session that will include an overview of woman abuse and the legal information most critical to settlement and community workers working in or in the vicinity of the new Bathurst-Finch Community Hub
  • A series of dialogue sessions (4-6 individual discussions) that present role plays of positive, culturally-based interventions reflecting the traditions of newcomer communities in the Hub’s catchment area. The demonstrations will be followed by facilitated discussions on how aspects of these can be integrated into established ways of supporting vulnerable newcomer women
  • A training workshop for settlement workers and staff of the Hub on a domestic violence risk assessment and referral tool that will be developed through the project

Need for Training

NYWC recently completed a Women’s Community Safety Study within the Bathurst-Finch area. A number of issues that impact women’s safety were identified including; newcomer status, and isolation caused by language and poverty, a lack of awareness of legal information, legal services and their rights. The study also found that front-line community workers in the Bathurst-Finch area had limited knowledge of family and criminal law and in particular, were unsure about key aspects of law relating to domestic violence. Workers identified the need to learn simple and effective ways to assess risk and to be trained in how to direct the women they serve to appropriate legal services.

Innovative Approach

This project will take advantage of the innovative approach to service delivery that the community hub model offers by maximizing the ability of front-line staff to both work and learn collaboratively. The proposed project will train co-located settlement and community agency staff together with those working in other neighborhood resources

The dialogue session exploring culturally based responses to abuse are an innovative as they attempt to build on existing strengths and supports that exist within populations that are often seen as completely marginalized. Through these sessions, the project will encourage women to identify community and cultural strengths and assets and explore ways that women can support each other through their own social networks. The dialogue session will allow workers to explore ways to build on existing strengths, demonstrate a respect and understanding of cultural traditions and norms and utilize community assets to create a positive environment where women can be supported.