- Research local resources.
Start here to see what’s available to women in your community:
https://sheltersafe.ca/get-help/. How might you share this? Social media, school or workplace, talking with family and friends
- Educate & prepare yourself.
Start by understanding violence: https://wicc.org/restore/understanding-violence/ and then learn about how you can support survivors https://wicc.org/restore/taking-action/responding-to-survivors/
- Provide concrete assistance.
Contact your local shelter and offer to purchase new toiletries and personal supplies to be delivered to them (they will tell you the best way to do this).
- Address the issue of Clergy abuse in our churches.
Clergy abuse is the most visited page on WICC (Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada) resource. Making sure policies are known by church members and that leadership accountability is valued is one step towards ending gender-based violence
- Review and evaluate your church’s policies.
Does your church’s policy of safety reflect a holistic understanding of the ecosystems of abuse & include a clause specifically for clergy sexual abuse? (if your church doesn’t have a specific policy pertaining to gender-based violence, look for policies addressing harassment, safety for vulnerable peoples, rules governing church leaders’ behaviors, etc.) Is the policy trauma informed and focused on the needs of the person harmed? Do people in your community of faith know the policy and how to make a complaint? Is there education available to volunteers? An example of this is the Responsible Ministry program in the Diocese of Toronto, Anglican Church of Canada
- Advocate with elected officials.
One of the biggest barriers to leaving violence at home is having no safe place to go.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada recently wrote the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion. Their asks include:
- Increasing priority access to housing for victims of domestic violence.
- Short-term financial assistance for victims of domestic violence so they can access safe housing.
- Helping municipalities to tackle wait-lists and capacity issues for affordable housing.
- Promote services that are trauma-informed, victim-centred and culturally appropriate for those experiencing domestic violence, including shelters, housing, counselling and legal advice.
Write your own letter based on the link above. For further guidance you can consult these Writing for Action Guidelines. Be sure to copy your MP, their contact information can be found here using your postal code.
Sample Letter to Government
This could be a template for your church.
National Action Plan
Click here to see the National Action Plan: https://nationalactionplan.ca/