Indigenous Communities Safety Project
Overview of the Project
The purpose of this two year project is to provide knowledge sharing to Aboriginal leadership (including governance leadership, service providers and the natural leadership) in 12 Aboriginal communities (First Nations and urban Aboriginal communities) related to criminal justice, family justice and child protection laws, policies and practices that directly affect police and government responses to domestic and sexual violence and child abuse and neglect.
Public Legal information and education will also be disseminated through:
1. A province-wide videoconference to reach 150 rural and remote Aboriginal communities.
2. Presentations at third-party conferences across BC.
3. Online publications and other written materials.
The initiative will benefit:
• Victims/survivors of domestic/sexual violence and child abuse/neglect.
• Aboriginal service providers, including leaders, advocates and intermediaries.
• Service agencies providing legal aid, access to justice and court services.
The project is managed by the Ending Violence Association of British Columbia (EVA BC) in partnership with the Legal Services Society (LSS) of British Columbia.
EVA BC provides a broad range of support and training to the 240 provincially-funded anti-violence programs it represents, including Community-based Victim Service Programs, Stopping the Violence Counselling Programs, Stopping the Violence and Multicultural Outreach Programs, and Sexual Assault Centres. These programs serve women and children who are victims of sexual assault, relationship violence, child abuse, and criminal harassment. It also provides cross-sector training and support to others working in the community or within the justice, social service, or health systems. One of EVA BC's primary programs is the Community Coordination for Women's Safety (CCWS) program, which provides assistance in cross-sector coordination to BC communities, with a focus on rural and isolated communities.
The LSS provides legal aid services in British Columbia. The society's mandate focuses on helping people resolve their legal problems. The legal aid services offered by LSS include: legal information by publication, website and in person; advice by telephone and in person; and legal representation for the most serious family, child protection, immigration and criminal matters. Public legal education has been a key tool for fulfilling the LSS mandate and the society has developed a national reputation for its innovative approaches to creation and distribution of public legal information and in the training of intermediaries to assist low-income people with their legal problems.
This project is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario and the Vancouver Foundation.
The proposed initiative will:
• Encourage communities to discuss practical ways to improve safety and access to justice for women and children.
• Help communities develop community safety plans that will help keep women and children safe from domestic and sexual violence and child abuse and neglect.
• Empower Aboriginal communities across the province to respond to violence.
• Empower Aboriginal service providers to better assist Aboriginal communities-especially women and children-to keep themselves safe, to be aware of their legal rights and to access justice if they become victims.
• Raise awareness about law and policy, including relevant aspects of the Criminal Code, the RCMP Primary Aggressor Policy, the provincial Violence Against Women Policy, the High Risk Domestic Violence Protocol and the Child Protection Domestic Violence Guidelines.
• Equip Aboriginal communities with the tools they need to identify lethal domestic violence-related risk factors, respond to disclosures and negotiate help.
• Equip service providers working in these communities with the knowledge they need to ensure that women and families know their rights and understand the laws and policies that can help keep them safe.
• Help improve access to justice by putting information in the hands of the helping community and leadership.
• Help reduce re-victimization.
• Provide an alternative for victims of violence who do not feel comfortable seeking assistance from a non-Aboriginal person or service.
• Foster relationships with mainstream legal and justice communities that will encourage cross-sector, cross-culture collaborations in the future.
• Facilitate the creation of networks that encourage services to work together and encourage women to report domestic and sexual violence to police and access justice and child protection systems.
Is your community ready for this type of knowledge sharing? How are we determining community readiness? (These are interim questions at the present time.)
1. Is the leadership (governance, service providers and natural leaders) supportive in addressing the issues of violence against Aboriginal women?
2. Is the leadership willing to fully participate in a minimum of three days of training?
3. Are there strong partnerships in the community among service providers?
4. Does the community currently have partnerships/make referrals to non-Aboriginal services?
5. How do service providers collaborate now and is there a debriefing process?
6. Are there Elders/Traditional Knowledge Holders who can provide teachings about roles and responsibilities of men and women in community, healthy relationships, healthy sexual relationships?
7. Will your leadership make it possible to implement a community safety plan post-training?
8. What is the protocol for coming into your community?
9. When is the best time of year for this training to come to your community?
For follow up, please contact Beverley Jacobs, Indigenous Communities Project Consultant, at:
1404-510 West Hastings Street
Phone: 604-633-2506 ext 16