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:

Supporting Women's Wellness

Organization:

Antigonish Women's Resource Centre

Location:

Paqtnkek Mi'kmaq Nation, Nova Scotia

Target Group:

Adolescent girls, women and their families.

Contact Name:

Amanda Workman, Women's Support Worker

Phone:

902-863-6221

Email:

amanda.awrc@ns.sympatico.ca

Website:

www.antigonishwomenscentre.com

Program Overview
History:

Supporting Women's Wellness was founded in 2010.

Program Description
Goals & Objectives:

To address priorities identified by the Community Health Board in areas related to mental health, healthy sexuality, addictions, and chronic disease prevention, and provide women and adolescent girls in Paqtnkek with information, problem-solving support counselling, and advocacy on the range of issues they face in their lives, reducing their vulnerability to violence.

Traditional/Indigenous ways:

The activities of the programs are culturally sensitive and include Medicine Wheel teachings, moon time teachings, traditional practices, and talking circles. Local Elders are involved in all of the teachings.

Components of program:

The community outreach worker offers services in Paqtnkek Mi'kmaq Community on a weekly basis. Services include one on one support to women and girls, and provision of the programs through the Antigonish Women's Resource Centre. Program areas include: Inspire, a 10 week program offered weekly to girls in grades 7 and 8 with topics focussed on healthy relationships, family, dating, and peers as identified by participants; Anger management programs; Resisting Violence: Rural Women and Girls Take Action; Lindsay's Health Centre for Women; Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program; Sexual Trauma Survivors Group; Healthy Relationships for Youth; an Anxiety group for women and girls; Parent Support Network; and the Creative Circle. The outreach worker attends the Paqtnkek Interagency Committee, the Sisters in Spirit Walks, and facilitates workshops with local community elders and social workers on topics such as: developing healthy coping skills, violence, addiction, the complexities of navigating the child welfare and legal systems, addressing concerns over Mi'kmaq Family and Children's Services involvement. Using food, fun, and other incentives, support groups are held weekly.

Services/How they work:

Services are provided on site at the facility.

Funding:

Funding is provided by the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority Community Health Board

Relationships and Stakeholders
Involvement of Target Groups:

All of the outreach programs are community driven programs.

Partners:

Paqtnkek Health and Wellness; Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselling Association; Addiction Services of Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority; Lindsay's Health Centre; Nova Scotia Public Health and Mental Health Associations.

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 levels of attendance in the programs available; and by how much client knowledge of issues has increased through participating in the various programs.

Achievements:

Empowering youth and women and families is the most significant accomplishment. The program has raised awareness of health issues in the community.

Challenges:

Obtaining funding. Successfully implementing a confidentiality policy in such a small community has been a challenge.

Things to Know to Replicate
Replication Advice:

The program is considered replicable. These programs require community ownership and direction in order to be successful. It takes a long time to get established and gain trust of communities. Positive programming requires respectful and transparent relations. Regular consultation with community representatives is a programming priority. All programming requires the capacity to meet child care needs. Program design and implementation must be community driven by service users. Sustainability of programs require core funding that is beyond grant based or project based funding.

Resources:

Adequate funding, properly trained staff and facility space for the programming would be necessary to ensure the program's success.

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