Double Your Impact


My counsellor at BWSS told me I needed stamina to get to the end. BWSS was integral to supporting me to lean on a village, to lend me their belief when I didn’t believe in myself. They gave me fuel when I had none. They gave me tools to cope and to manage what I needed to do for myself. And they helped me see that all along I was the one that was running this race of life. They helped me to look back and see the progress I’ve made and showed me the strength I have to have gotten this far. That helped to ignite my belief in myself again. 
I’m running this race to raise awareness for BWSS and what they have done for me. They’ve prepared me with the mental training of running my life marathon. And I know, I can complete this.
Will you support me and donate?

–  J. 

Double Your Impact!

Starting today, June 19 until race day, Sunday, June 23, a generous donor is matching all donations up to $5,000 made to the BWSS #SafetyChangesEverything team!

This means your donation will go further and is the perfect opportunity to sponsor team members like Jennifer who are running in support of BWSS.

For 40 years BWSS has provided a safe, welcoming space for trans/women and femmes who have experienced gender-based violence. 

This year we have 40 amazing people dedicated to raising $40,000 in the Scotiabank Half-Marathon and 5K in support of the work that happens every day at BWSS! 

Sponsor our team today so that together we can reach our goal. Because Safety Changes Everything. 


Violence Prevention and Intervention Training | Fall 2019

Our Crisis line doesn’t get answered without the help of volunteers. Do you see yourself ready to make a difference by working directly with survivors of violence? Join our volunteer team!

After completing an intensive 12 week training program, volunteers answer our intake and crisis lines providing information to trans/women and femmes and the community, and facilitating support groups.

Attend an information session to learn more:

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 at 6:00pm
Thursday, July 18th at 4:00pm

The Training Program dates will be:

Every Friday between September 20th to December 6th, 2019 9:30am to 4:30pm

Apply today!


My Stars Aligned

“Running reminds you that even in your weakest moments, you are strong.”~ unknown 

Recently I was introduced to BWSS, Battered Women’s Support Services and all the work they do. I have even begun volunteering at their social enterprise eco-thrift store My Sister’s Closet. 

At the same time, I started running to clear my head after a recent trauma. When the opportunity arose to join the BWSS team and raise funds for them at the Scotia Charity Challenge on June 23rd, it seemed my stars aligned and it was a perfect way for me to give back. My friend is also supporting me in the 5km run and I have been offered so much support from my loved ones in this new life chapter that my heart is so very full!

I would greatly appreciate it if you looked at my link and considered donating to the team, my friend Corina or myself. All of it goes to one great cause 💖

-Colleen Thomas


For 40 years BWSS has provided a safe, welcoming space for trans/women and femmes who have experienced gender based violence. 

This year we have 40 amazing people dedicated to raising $40,000 in the Scotiabank Half-Marathon and 5K in support of the work that happens every day at BWSS! 

Sponsor our team today so that together we can reach our goal. Because Safety Changes Everything.



You Haven’t Heard Anything Like This Before


“And Still We Rise” is the latest offering of BWSS with host Angela Marie MacDougall. Launched in advance of Women Deliver, the international conference coming to Vancouver June 3 – 6, 2019, and to announce the counter conference Feminists Deliver which features how local women and femmes are moving the dial on liberation today.

Explore how women are taking action on gender oppression from an intersectional lens, with host Angela Marie as she speaks with activists, advocates, survivors, law makers, politicians, academics, bureaucrats and reporters. Profoundly West Coast, it’s about the action underway toward addressing and redressing some of the most pressing social issues facing people today.

Logo for the And Still We Rise podcast

Episode One


Angela Marie talks with Raji Mangat | Director of Litigation and Elba Bendo | Director of Law Reform at West Coast LEAF about personal trajectories and how the law is only one tool in the toolbox of feminist activism.

Episode Two


On this episode of And Still We Rise, Angela Marie speaks with Julie Savard-Shaw about abortion, reproductive justice, connecting the global and domestic feminist organizing, feminist policy development and Women Deliver Mobilization.

Julie Savard-Shaw is CanWaCH’s Director, Partnerships, Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada.  She works with stakeholders across sectors to ensure Canadian leadership in the promotion of domestic and global women and girls’ health, rights and well-being in the lead-up and at the 2019 Women Deliver Conference.

Julie holds a Master of International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and a Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management. Julie most recently worked at the Prime Minister’s Office, providing policy advice on international, gender and immigration-related matters.

Prior to working in politics, Julie worked in the international development sector and successfully leveraged additional resources for global health and education initiatives. Julie also supports local organizations that provide shelter and assistance to women survivors of gender-based violence. In her spare time, Julie regularly travels to Peru, where she co-founded a music school in rural Lima which provides weekly music lessons to disadvantaged youth.

Episode Three


In the midst of the opioid crisis and until recently, much less has been known about women’s substance use as most research and treatment focused on men. On this episode of And Still We Rise, Angela Marie speaks with Shannon Skilton, Emily Henry and Dawn Vanichuk women’s substance use specialists from Chrysalis Society. They talk about the social context for women’s substance use, share personal experiences and discuss what it takes for women to thrive in a world that needs so much healing.

Meet The Host

Angela Marie MacDougallAngela Marie MacDougall is the Executive Director of Battered Women’s Support Services.

For over thirty years, Angela’s work as an advocate, activist, and front-line worker has brought tangible transformation to service and program delivery as well as community development. Angela is strategic and proactive and continues to strengthen connections within the community and beyond. Her many years of steadfast commitment and tremendous work are what have raised Battered Women’s Support Services profile as an organization.

Recognized on November 14, 2016 as one of Vancouver Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful People, Angela works tirelessly for the elimination of violence against women daily, in every aspect of her being.

And Still We Rise

Forty years later, BWSS remains committed to ending gender-based violence through our direct services, education and training, advocacy and push for institutional and systemic reform. 

Our 40th year is a time for reflection, commemoration and acknowledgement of the decades of work and resistance that began with a few women in 1979. 

This year our work continues strong as we are prepare for a four- day conference and trade show, launch our podcast and commemorate our 40th year and International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women with a powerful speaker. Scroll down for the details you don’t want to miss… 

Logo for the And Still We Rise podcast


This innovative podcast looks at how women and femmes are taking action on gender oppression from an intersectional lens. Host Angela Marie speaks with activists, advocates, survivors, law makers, politicians, academics, bureaucrats and reporters. Profoundly west coast, it’s about the action underway toward addressing and redressing some of the most pressing social issues facing people today.

Listen to the first episode here!

Feminists Deliver Conference and Trade show 

BWSS is pleased to be part of Feminists Deliver, a convening of grassroots feminist organization from across the province of BC who have come together to create a parallel conference to Women Deliver from June 3-6, 2019. 

On May 10th 2019, on behalf of the provincial government, Parliamentary Secretary Mitzi Dean announced $200,000 in funding to support the Feminists Deliver conference and trade show taking place at 312 Main St. Vancouver, Unceded Territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. 

Registration for the conference is available here via Eventbrite. To learn more about Feminists Deliver visit 

Save the Date: BWSS 40th Anniversary with Tarana Burke at the Orpheum Theatre, November 25, 2019

BWSS is thrilled and honored to announce Tarana Burke will speak at our 40th anniversary commemoration on International Day for the Eliminiation of Violence against Women on November 25th, 2019 at the Orpheum Theatre.  

Tarana Burke 

#MeToo is not just an overnight hashtag sensation; Tarana Burke has dedicated more than 25 years of her life to social justice and to laying the groundwork for a movement that was initially created to help young women of color who survived sexual abuse and assault. The movement now inspires solidarity, amplifies the voices of thousands of victims of sexual abuse, and puts the focus back on survivors. Tarana’s continued work with the ‘me too.’ movement has earned her the honor of being named The Root 100‘s most influential person of 2018.

She is now Executive Director of the ‘me too.’ organization. On stage, she provides words of empowerment that lift up marginalized voices, enables survivors across all races, genders, or classes to know that they are not alone, and creates a place for comfort and healing to those who have experienced trauma.

Get on the list!

To receive updates and information on when tickets will be available email

My Sister’s Closet – Commercial Drive

Thank you for all your support in making the My Sister’s Closet Pop Up a success! Because of your support shopping and donating we are now on the Drive in our permanent location, 1830 Commercial Drive in Vancouver.

My Sister’s Closet at 1830 Commercial Drive is open, 7 days a week, 10am to 5pm.  


Gathering Our Voices 

Summer-Rain Bentham, Manager, Indigenous Women’s Program at BWSS spoke at Gathering Our Voices Youth Conference held in Vancouver. Sponsored by the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres. Her presentation focused on gender-based violence, stolen sisters, the pain of the families and loved ones of those who have gone. Her powerful speak is available to watch below.

How to Support Refugees  Facing Intimate Partner Violence

The BC Refugee Hub held a training webinar covering support services for refugees and refugee claimants facing intimate partner violence with our Rosa Elena Arteaga, Manager of Direct Service and Clinical Practice at BWSS as the trainer. 

Topics Covered in the webinar:

  • Introduction to Domestic Violence
  • Domestic Violence in Refugee Communities
  • Key Issues and Challenges
  • How to Support Individuals Facing Domestic Violence
  • Supports and Resources for Refugees and Refugee Claimants Experiencing Domestic Violence

Access the free training here. 



Open letter from women’s groups on proposed law violating rights of women refugees fleeing violence

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau. P.C., M.P.

Prime Minister of Canada, Ottawa
May 8, 2019

Dear Prime Minister:

Re: Women refugees at risk from changes to refugee rights in Budget Bill

We are writing to speak out against the clawback of the human rights of refugees buried in the recent federal budget bill (Bill C-97). The government has introduced these significant changes without consideration of their impact on women refugees.
These changes will deny refugee claimants a hearing of their asylum claim before an independent adjudicator if they have previously filed a claim in the United States and certain other countries. This change will harm women and children seeking refugee protection from domestic violence in their home countries.

The proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act take no account of the significant gaps in US refugee protections, nor the specific needs of women refugee claimants. In 2018, the Trump administration issued a binding legal precedent that severely and systematically restricts access to asylum for women fleeing domestic violence – even if they come from a country that offers no protection to women fleeing this harm. Canada, by contrast, has prided itself on its long-standing recognition of domestic violence as a form of gender-based persecution.

It is shocking that the government would make this change, knowing it will directly and immediately harm women and children. The United States has draconian immigration detention policies that include separating child refugee claimants from their parents, resulting in incalculable trauma and abuse. The Trump administration has closed the door on asylum for women and children fleeing domestic violence in countries that will not protect them; this bill means that Canada is by extension supporting this US policy and violating the human rights of women and girls seeking asylum.

Every woman who had ever made an asylum claim in the US but who turned to Canada to seek protection from violence will now be denied a full and independent hearing. Instead, her case will be considered by a government bureaucrat in a primarily written process without any opportunity to call witnesses and meaningfully challenge government evidence. Women and children could be returned to their home countries, where they faced violence and persecution, without a proper hearing before an independent adjudicator. It is a violation of the Charter and of basic human dignity to deny women in these situations their rights to due process.

Canada was the first country to adopt Gender Guidelines to be used by adjudicators at the Immigration and Refugee Board to assess refugee claims of women who have experienced violence. Special procedural accommodations are often used by the independent adjudicators at the Immigration and Refugee Board to ensure that women claimants are able to tell their stories of persecution, which can include recounting traumatic sexual and physical violence. These world-leading safeguards for the rights of women refugees will be taken away from women who are caught by the new restrictions in the federal budget bill.

Through the Gender-Based Violence Prevention Strategy and the Feminist International Assistance Policy, the Government of Canada has professed a strong commitment to preventing and addressing violence against women. This bill significantly undermines this commitment.
The government should be ashamed that this drastic clawback of rights is buried deep within a large, omnibus budget bill. The effect of this is to eliminate the opportunity for full consideration, by the public and our elected officials, of the serious harms that this new restriction will have on women. In proposing this restriction on rights, the government has ignored the specific and immediate harms to women – it is the responsibility of our Parliament to pay attention and respect the human rights of those most vulnerable among us.
We are calling on the government to withdraw these deeply harmful restrictions on the rights of refugees, and if they fail to do so, we call on Parliamentarians in the House of Commons and the Senate to reject them.

Atira Women’s Resource Society
Avalon Sexual Assault Centre
Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
Battered Women’s Support Services
BC Society of Transition Homes
Black Legal Action Centre
Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action
Canadian Feminist Coalition
Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women
Canadian Women’s Foundation
Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle
Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
Ending Violence Association of BC
Fédération des maisons d’hébergement pour femmes
Harmony House
Inter Pares
International Women’s Rights Project
LEAF (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund)
London Abused Women’s Centre
Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters
Migrant Workers Centre
Mouvement Contre le Viol et L’inceste
National Association of Women and the Law
Nelson and District Women’s Centre
Nobel Women’s Initiative
Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
Peace Track Initiative
PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre
Rise Women’s Legal Centre
Sexual Assault Support Centre Ottawa
Sisters Trust Canada South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
South Asian Women’s Community Centre
Surrey Women’s Centre
SWAN Vancouver Society
Transition House Association of Nova Scotia
Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter
WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre
West Coast LEAF
Women Transforming Cities
Women’s Shelters Canada
YWCA Canada