Family Violence Initiative

COMPENDIUM OF PROMISING PRACTICES TO REDUCE VIOLENCE AND INCREASE SAFETY OF ABORIGINAL WOMEN IN CANADA – COMPENDIUM ANNEX: DETAILED PRACTICE DESCRIPTIONS

INTERACTIONS WITHIN COMMUNITIES

Healthy Relationships: Women

Program name:

Aboriginal Women's Support Network

Organization:

Canadian Red Cross

Location:

Lethbridge, Alberta

Target Group:

Urban Aboriginal women (18 and up)

Contact Name:

Charlene Bruised Head-Mountain Horse, Aboriginal/Community Outreach Coordinator

Phone:

N/A

Email:

Charlene.BruisedHead-MountainHorse@redcross.ca

Website:

www.redcross.ca

Program Overview
History:

The program began in 2009 and has been in continuous operation since that time.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

To ensure that urban Aboriginal women learn about community resources that will allow them to understand how to prevent abuse and to use their voice to advocate for themselves.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

Elders' guidance is consulted when sessions are being designed. Elders also run and participate in workshops offered to clients. Opening prayers and smudging are routinely observed and included in the programming. The cultural protocols of the Blackfoot people make up the majority of the Indigenous component of the program.

Components of program:

The program provides space and opportunity for urban Aboriginal women to meet as a group and learn how to stop the cycle of abuse. The program runs workshops designed for women to first build rapport with one another to develop a bond of trust. Partners of the program come to the workshops to teach the women. Police and child welfare services run information sessions informing clients of their rights and responsibilities. Elders are brought in to teach an historical context on the history of abuse and its roots in events such as residential school experiences and the "Sixties Scoop". The program provides child care for attendees as well as travel expenses and meals.

Services/How they work:

Services are provided on site at the facility.

Funding:

Funding is provided by the Urban Aboriginal Strategy through the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada; the Department of Canadian Heritage; and the Canadian Red Cross.

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

Staff and Elders are all women. Prior to the development of any workshops, female Elders are consulted and asked to provide their input. Some Elders have worked in the prisons and have knowledge of the needs of the Aboriginal women inside. Family members of the staff, who come from the Aboriginal community are consulted and provide feedback and advice as well. At the close of every cycle, an evaluation is completed by the clients.

Partners:

Aboriginal Council of Lethbridge; Lethbridge Regional Police; Lethbridge Victim Witness Services; Resource people from Lethbridge YWCA; Blackfoot Family Lodge; Opo'kasin Early Intervention Society.

Other relationships:

N/A

Details of Program Evaluation
Evaluation:

No evaluation has been completed.

Highlights of Evaluation Findings:

N/A.

Program Outcomes
Measures of Success:

Success is measured by the results of client evaluations done at the end of program cycles and by the levels of attendance the programs accumulate.

Achievements:

Growth of program and an increase of public awareness that the program exists has allowed program to help more clients in each successive year of operation.

Challenges:

Obtaining funding. Difficulty in providing transportation for clients to and from program.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program is considered replicable. Utilize community resource people, the Elders. There is a specific need for child care, transportation and food for the participants in the sessions.

Resources:

Sufficient funding would need to be acquired for the program to operate. Trained and knowledgeable staff would need to be hired as well as the inclusion of the local populations' Elders and knowledge holders who are willing to assist the program in its endeavours.

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