BCSTH is grateful for the Department of WAGE funding to support this critical work.
BCSTH in concert with Reciprocal Consulting has researched and developed a culturally safe and inclusive service model – Reducing Barriers for Indigenous Women and their Children through sharing circles with Indigenous women with lived experience of violence, and surveys and interviews with transition house staff. This Inclusive Service Model is the promising practice that will be tested through the Cedar Blankets project over 4 years. Its overarching framework is informed by the concepts of GBA+ analysis, survivor engagement, cultural safety and trauma- and violence- informed practice.
The need for access to culturally safe and responsive transition houses and safe homes for Indigenous women and girls cannot be understated given the disproportionate gender-based violence they experience compared to other Canadian women and girls. Indigenous women and girls make up only 4% of the female population in Canada (Statistics Canada 2016) while Indigenous women are 12 times more likely to be murdered or go missing than any other women in Canada and 16 times more likely than Caucasian women (Pearce, 2016).
There is both a need and desire from BCSTH member programs to increase cultural safety and trauma- and violence- informed practice for Indigenous women and children across the province. Unrolling “Cedar Blankets: Building Wraparound Supports & Reducing Barriers for Indigenous Women and Children to Transition Houses and Safe Homes” at four pilot sites in the province will provide rich learning, informed adaptation and an appreciation of local contexts and communities in the implementation and project coordination. The Cedar Blankets project will help determine and emphasize what is needed – and what is currently possible – to support Indigenous women and their children to increase access to and length of stay at transition houses and safe homes, and transform transition house and safe home practices and policies to be culturally safe, welcoming and effective.
Executive Director of BCSTH, Amy S. FitzGerald, states: “Gender-based violence affects countless women throughout British Columbia and Indigenous women are disproportionately victimized by violence, a result of the complex and ongoing implications of colonization. The promising practices in the Cedar Blankets project have the potential to reframe how transition houses and safe homes provide responsive services and shelter to Indigenous women and their children. We are grateful for the support from the Government of Canada to facilitate meaningful and transformative change. With this investment, we will take another step toward ending gender-based violence by providing cultural safety and trauma- and violence- informed shelter and supports to Indigenous women, children and youth in British Columbia.”
The BC Society of Transition Houses is a member-based, provincial umbrella organization that, through leadership, support and collaboration, enhances the continuum of services and strategies to respond to, prevent and end violence against women, children and youth.