The Women’s Advocacy Program served approximately a thousand women during the year through a number of services that are described below. Through innovative programming, we continue educating women on issues related to domestic violence as well as women’s and children rights.
Partner Contact Program
This year, the Women’s Program provided support to 405 women through Partner Contact. The Partner Contact work has become an instrument to support women to gain control over their own lives and to empower themselves within the context of their families and the larger community. Women call us to inquire about the men’s progress and disclose significant incidents that reveal their progress. This program provides culturally appropriate referrals and support, crisis intervention, safety planning and risk assessment to women whose (ex) partners are attending Counterpoint Men’s Program.
The Partner Contact is provided in both English and Spanish, and interpreters are arranged as required. The women served by the Women’s Program area a diverse group that includes women of colour, new immigrants, refugee women or women with precarious immigration status, women with disabilities, young and older women, single women and women with children. Many of the women we work with are living in poverty. The issues and challenges for women who are served by the Women’s Program continue to be numerous and diverse. Issues include a lack of knowledge about the criminal justice system and how to access police protection, the need for affordable housing, precarious immigration status that leaves them vulnerable to deportation and denial of services, poverty and involvement with social services, involvement with child protection agencies and experience with mental health issues.
Many of the women are experiencing a variety of high-risk abusive behaviours from their (ex) partner including stalking. There is a need for working with women to identify safety-planning strategies that include contacting police and/or getting court protection orders, particularly after bail or probation orders have expired. This portion of the Women’s program is funded by the Ministry of Attorney General.
Women’s Support Group
The Women to Women Support Group continues to have a safe space every Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 for women who have experienced intimate abusive relationships and violence. New clients and previous participants attend the Women’s Support Group on an as-needed basis. Unfortunately, the program has been impacted by the agency’s financial constraints, as we are unable to continue offering TTC and childcare for the participants.
Counterpoint did special projects in support to women’s programs. We also embraced individual initiatives to develop innovative programs for our clients.
Women’s Advocacy Programs
Counterpoint had the Taste of Culture Fundraising last August 25, 2017. Proceeds of which went to the women’s program.
The Arpillera “Storytelling” Art Program was led by the Artist Claudia Lopez, and co-facilitated by Blanca Alvarado, from June to December 2017. Ending with an exhibit to promoted awareness about the impact of violence in the community and at home.
Thanks to the Toronto Art Council (TAC) the Arpillera “Storytelling” Art Program took place at Counterpoint, supporting our clients to use arts for self-expression and to communicate and share their life experiences – storylines that need to be told. The program provided child minding, TTC tickets as well as language interpretation to women who needed it. We also wish to acknowledge and express our sincere appreciation to Vanessa Soto’s contribution as a student from the University of Toronto, Bachelors of Phycology Program, Teresa Salazar the child-minding worker and Ana Calero de Video Producer.
Counterpoint also took part in the International Women’s Day Celebration done at James Cardinal Mc Guigan Catholic High School last March 10, 2018. Clara was one of the guest speakers. She spoke about gender equality and empowerment of women. This event was for the Spanish speaking community and was attended by about 250 women. This activity is in collaboration with Hispanic Development Council and other community agencies in Toronto.