About BWSS

What We Do:

We contribute to the freedom and liberation of girls and women from violence and to empower our community through training and education programs. For over 35 years, we have been providing counselling and healing spaces for those who have experienced abuse. To help women build strength and resiliency, we work on systemic advocacy, law reform, in-class youth engagement programs and we operate a social enterprise called My Sister’s Closet in British Columbia. In addition, we support our male counterparts by urging them to own their role in ending violence against girls and women.


Mission Statement:

Battered Women’s Support Services provides education, advocacy and support services to assist all battered women in its aim to work towards the elimination of violence and to work from a feminist perspective that promotes equality for all women.

Critical and Essential Services:

Battered Women’s Support Services responds to over 8,000 direct service requests, in 2008:

  • Over 5460 women called our Crisis Line
  • Over 1300 women accessed Crisis Support and Accompaniment
  • Over 2304 women accessed Counselling
  • Over 3650 Counselling sessions were provided
  • Over 980 women accessed Support Groups
  • Over 1,200 women who were starting over received clothing and/or household items


  • Percentage of women who self identified as recent immigrants: 42%
  • Percentage of women who self identified as Aboriginal, Indigenous, First Nations, Native, Indian or Métis: 18%
  • Percentage of women who self identified as refugee: 2%

BWSS Provides:

  • Crisis Support
  • Counselling – Long term and Stopping the Violence Counselling
  • Victim Services
  • Legal Advocacy
  • Indigenous Women’s Program
  • Advancing Women’s Awareness Regarding Employment (AWARE) Program
  • Latin American Women’s Program
  • Women’s Safety and Outreach Program
  • Violence Prevention & Intervention Volunteer Training
  • Law Reform
  • Retail Program
  • Strategic Interventions Training for Service Providers
  • Social Enterprise

All our services are provided by trained workers who work from an empowerment model and from a feminist, anti-oppression perspective.

BWSS is located in downtown Vancouver, BC, Canada. We provide services, information, training and referrals throughout Metro Vancouver, the province of BC, nationally and internationally. We are a non-profit agency funded by:

  • Ministry of Housing and Social Development,
  • Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General – Crime Prevention and Victim Service Division,
  • Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General – Gaming Enforcement Division,
  • The Law Foundation of BC,
  • United Way of the Lower Mainland,
  • The City of Vancouver,
  • Central City Foundation,
  • Vancity Community Foundation,
  • The Notary Foundation of BC
  • The generous support of many individuals, businesses and corporations.

We thank our funders and all the individuals, businesses and corporations who have supported us over the years and who continue to support our work.


  1. To provide education, advocacy and support services to assist all battered women.
  2. To work toward the elimination of woman abuse.
  3. To work from a feminist perspective (one that promotes equality for all women).


  1. To offer emotional support, advocacy, referrals and information to battered women who call or visit BWSS.
  2. To offer support groups for women survivors of violence and abuse.
  3. To work towards the elimination of barriers to our services for lesbians, Aboriginal women, women of colour, immigrant women, prostitutes, women with disabilities and women of all ages, classes and cultures.
  4. To provide training throughout British Columbia.
  5. To do educational & prevention work on the issue of woman abuse for women’s groups, professionals and the general public.
  6. To develop and exchange information and materials on woman abuse with other groups and individuals working on the issue.
  7. To advocate for change in social systems so that they are accountable, effective and accessible for battered women.

Statement of Philosophy:

BWSS is a feminist organization. We believe that battering does not take place between two people individually, in isolation, but in a social context, and is rooted in the oppression of women. Further, we believe that battering is the result of a world view which supports the right of some people to oppress others. That right is granted by the privilege of status associated with gender, race, religion, class, sexual orientation, age and physical ability.