Battered Women’s Support Services Announces!

Community Leadership Programs and Services

Community Leadership Programs and Services is an innovation in our effort toward the eradication of violence against girls and women through emphasizing leadership, training, advocacy and prevention.

We’re pleased to announce our Managers, Fran Smith and Andrea Canales. Both Fran and Andrea have years of frontline and community organizing experience and for the past five and three years respectively, as Managers at Battered Women’s Support Services, Fran and Andrea have demonstrated strong collaborative leadership, effective direct service, program development and advocacy. As leaders in their new role, Andrea and Fran will provide women-centred and coordinated community-based response to women and girl survivors of violence and abuse. They will also work to support consistent institutional and systemic women-centered response based on promising practices to prevent and end violence against girls and women across the lifecycle through the following programs and services:

Aboriginal Women’s Empowerment Program

YOUth Ending Violence: Youth Engagement in Dating Violence Prevention Program

Advancing Women’s Awareness Regarding Employment (AWARE)

Women’s Leadership and Training Initiative (WTLI)

Elder’s/Seniors Program

Aboriginal Women’s Empowerment Program

The Aboriginal Women’s Empowerment Program offers specialized services and programs which are intrinsic to empowerment and empowerment is at the heart of healing from the oppression of the abuse and the violence. The Aboriginal Women’s Empowerment Program includes traditional healing practices and contemporary support skills while working with women survivors of violence in intimate relationships, childhood sexual abuse, adult sexual assault, trauma and the impacts of colonization. Program essentials include awareness and violence prevention, crisis support, counselling and support groups, traditional parenting, understanding legal issues (Indian Act, child welfare, Indigenous, family and criminal law), ceremony, culture and community, employment, financial literacy and economic development.

YOUth Ending Violence: Youth Engagement in Dating Violence Prevention Program

The YOUth Ending Violence program aims to reduce violence in youth intimate relationships through an effective prevention education program that empowers girls and boys with an understanding of gender formation and provides an opportunity to examine ways to step outside the boundaries of gender expectation and effective bystander intervention. Youth from the community are trained to facilitate the workshops in the community and school system. Our program runs along the school year calendar, in collaboration with community groups and youth events.

Advancing Women’s Awareness Regarding Employment (AWARE)

As a part of our ongoing commitment to ending violence against women, Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) offers a specialized, progressive, women-centered, culturally-informed, employment program that supports women who have dealt with the impact of violence and abuse in their lives to move towards independence and self-reliance.

Our specialized women’s employment program is designed to provide comprehensive support for each participant, both individually and within a group setting. This program recognizes and addresses unique barriers facing women and work to empower women to attain their employment goals while building a strong personal foundation. The connections that women make throughout this program will be sustained before, during and after their participation in the program.

BWSS AWARE (Advancing Women’s Awareness Regarding Employment) services include case management, individualized training, personal development, support groups, personal exploration and development, and employment related skills training, and educational assistance, counselling, crisis intervention, advocacy, legal advocacy, and referrals for women survivors of violence in relationships and sexual assault.

Women’s Leadership and Training Initiative

Women’s Leadership and Training Initiative (WLTI) applies our years of experience in curriculum development and training delivery from a women-centered perspective to work with individuals, organizations and stakeholders in identified communities to develop and implement a leadership and training initiatives that are grounded in women’s empowerment, leadership and community development. Where women build on existing knowledge to seek their own healing and contribute to the healing of their communities to take action on violence against girls and women.

Women are the center of communities and to strengthen women is to strengthen communities. We recognize the forces of oppression that are deeply entrenched and are resistant to change and yet, we believe in the power of women to create opportunities to meet challenges and overcome obstacles. Through the initiative we collaborate with individuals, community groups, organizations to integrate local ideas, knowledge, experience to development and delivery of social justice and community development programs. Since 2008, through WLTI, BWSS has worked with women in communities throughout BC, Alberta, and Manitoba to further social justice.

Elders/Seniors Program

In most Indigenous cultures globally, Elders are important to families and communities; senior women, in particular, are essential in providing support and advocacy to women in their communities. Colonization, displacement, migration and the process of immigration creates unique barriers for senior women both Indigenous to Canada and recent Immigrant to continue with their traditional and crucial roles in their communities. At BWSS, we are committed to supporting the empowerment of women, and through this project we are working enhance and further develop the capacity of Indigenous and Immigrant senior women through working collaboratively to identify, address and eliminate violence against women in Indigenous, Iranian and Afghan Immigrant communities. This is achieved through specific and significant prevention and intervention strategies that are relevant to each community. Through empowering women, we make a difference at he individual, community, institutional and systemic levels. This project facilitates the leadership, participation and recognition of Indigenous, Iranian and Afghan senior Immigrant women as community resources.


Fran Smith –
Andrea Canales –