The Neighbours Friends and Families (NFF) is a province wide Campaign to raise awareness about the warning signs of woman abuse and has been running well over many years throughout the province. The Campaign is funded by the Ontario Women’s Directorate who “promotes women’s equality with a focus on ending violence against women and increasing women’s economic security”.
The Neighbours, Friends and Families – Immigrant and Refugee Communities Campaign (NFF IRC) is outreaching immigrant, racialized, culturally-diverse or faith-based communities. Violence against women is not limited to any one community. It crosses all social economic backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, abilities, sexual orientation, or occupations and all individuals and communities have a role in preventing and responding to violence against women. Although immigrant and refugee women experience the same forms of violence in their intimate relationships as Canadian-born women, they also face additional barriers such as:
- Language barriers
- Threat of withdrawing sponsorship or having them deported
- Lack of knowledge about their rights in Canada
- Unfamiliarity with the system, transit, geography, services available
- Isolation and lack of social support, etc.
The Neighbours, Friends & Families Immigrant & Refugee Communities (NFF IRC) Campaign helps diverse communities identify the signs of woman abuse and equips those closest to a woman with the skills to intervene effectively. It uses accessible and relevant products and activities to reach diverse immigrant and refugee communities such as: relevant and accessible language, images and stories that are reflective of the experiences of immigrant communities, or holding activities that celebrate their cultural heritage. Under this campaign the Multicultural Council of Windsor Essex County has recruited community champions as peer educators to teach and to raise awareness in their communities on recognizing the warning signs of abuse and how people can support women who are impacted by abuse. The campaign is based on a bystander approach. Many people don’t know what all the forms of woman abuse look like. As a result, bystanders don’t know when and where to act, or what to do about it. The campaign says: Here are ways they can help!
It includes a focus on building participants’ and community skills, capacity and confidence in their capacity to intervene in a range of specific scenarios. It tries to equip potential ‘bystanders’ with the tools and confidence to respond to woman abuse safely and appropriately. The new approach uses social marketing strategies where trained peer educators, men and women from different ethnic communities initiate discussions around the topic of abuse and violence, educate other community members and contribute to social change!
View our NFF IRC province wide campaign website here:
For more information on the MCC Violence Prevention Initiatives please contact:
Richale Singer, Neighbour, Friends and Families Coordinator
Neighbour, Friends and Families Immigrant and Refugee Communities Campaign