Event to launch the Justice Centre at BWSS.

community and board members at our in-person launch event

Recently, we held an event to launch the BWSS Justice Centre.

The Justice Centre at BWSS is more than access to justice—the presence of a legal advocate can help toward the opportunity to access a just result for survivors who are facing family law, immigration, child welfare, and/or criminal legal systems.

Overall, survivors of violence often face significant legal and systemic challenges, such as abusers who exploit their knowledge of the legal system or the patriarchal nature of the legal system itself.

Often women are navigating several areas of the law concurrently and often at opposing purposes.

The Justice Centre at BWSS advocates for law reform, gender, and racial justice to drive systems change advancing gender and racial justice for women survivors of violence in B.C., Canada and internationally.

The Justice Centre fills a critical gap in services for women who face systemic barriers in accessing legal support and achieving justice on their own.

It provides a safe and supportive space for survivors to receive the legal guidance and representation they need and deserve as a basic constitutional right which is often denied due to systemic barriers created by the Canadian government and legal system and reinforced by patriarchal values of the legal system itself that prevent survivors from having equitable access to the legal system.

The majority of the women who access services navigate a complex intersection of legal systems and a high percentage of women do not have adequate legal representation.

The Justice Centre at BWSS takes an intersectional approach to accessing justice while aiming to advance systemic advocacy by changing the legal systems that oppress survivors on their path to finding safety.

Check out a short video of our in-person launch here.

short video of our in-person launch

Black history month 2023

Black history month 2023

No country—including Canada—has reached gender and racial equity as an examination of the lives of Black women, girls and femmes reveals.

One of the least remarked upon themes in anti-violence work deals with Black women’s and gender diverse people’s experiences as victims of rape and domestic violence. Black, African, and Caribbean diasporic women and gender diverse people experiencing gender-based violence must navigate historical, societal, cultural, and familial prompts that sanction and silence them from disclosing their experiences of violence.

All Black survivors live at the intersection of being targeted for oppression solely based on their gender and Blackness. The lasting impacts of colonization and enslavement are present in the social, political, cultural, and economic ways of life for people of African descent in Canada, where anti-Black racial oppression is still particularly embedded in Canadian settler society.

As an intersectional feminist anti-violence organization our work includes supporting survivors who are Black, African and diaspora while working to redress the impact of oppression.

This Black History Month, we stand in the truths about the past while working to shape a better future.


Resources and events for you to commemorate and celebrate Black History Month 2023


Resources here on the BWSS site, including:


Massy Books celebrates Black excellence in history, literature, and the arts.

Come check out our shelves and window display to explore, learn and enjoy some of the brilliant works written by Black authors, scholars, educators and artists: https://storestock.massybooks.com/book-lists/black-history-month


Rights Back At You: A Podcast Listening Party

This new podcast is an unflinching look at anti-Black racism, policing, and surveillance in Canada and beyond: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/rights-back-at-you-a-podcast-listening-party-tickets-527871888027


Highlighting the Black presence in innovation in BC and beyond.

Grounded in the pillars of Inspiration, Community, Culture, and Innovation – this two-day summit includes a curated public event showcasing Black Innovation and creation and a youth-centred Hack-A-Thon we’ve renamed Blackathon: https://ethoslab.ca/ethos-lab-innovation-summit-blackathon/


Internationally acclaimed artiste, Mamadou Diabate with Percussion Mania alongside NAXX BITOTA:



Songs of Freedom, the eleventh annual concert in honour of Black History Month:



Black History Month at VIFF Centre:



The Black Arts Centre + PuSH

In their first collaboration with PuSh, the Black Arts Centre will host a night of dance, collaboration, and community! Identity as performance, the Black Arts Centre welcomes all to come as their very truest selves to center joy in Black History Month: https://pushfestival.ca/shows/club-push-2023/


Chan Centre Connects

Neptune Frost: https://thecinematheque.ca/films/2022/chan-centre-neptune-frost


Black Futures

Saul Williams / Moor Mother / Irreversible Entanglements: https://chancentre.com/events/saul-williams-moor-mother-irreversible-entanglements/


As We Rise

Photography from the Black Atlantic: https://thepolygon.ca/exhibition/as-we-rise/


Gregory Maqoma | Thuthuka Sibisi



African Descent History in BC

In the spirit of Black History Month, Surrey Archives will host guest speaker Yasin Kiraga Misago, President of the African Descent Society of BC. During the free, virtual, one-hour session, he will highlight BC.’s early history of African descent, dating back to 1858. Misago will then bring the conversation local to discuss Surrey’s African diaspora story: https://www.surrey.ca/news-events/events/african-descent-history-bc



On Black History and Storytelling. A hybrid (in person and online) conversation with award-winning novelist ESI EDUGYAN. Organized by BC Black History Awareness Society: https://bcblackhistory.ca/black-history-and-storytelling/


Building Black British Columbia with Social Media



Screening of the Woman King



Black Joy and Achievement in Cinema



Chelene Knight on her book Junie



Screening of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever




BLACK QUEER POETRY SLAM: https://www.winterartsfest.com/programming2023/poetry


We are hiring for a Program Co-ordinator for the Black Survivors Program at BWSS

The Program Coordinator provides support, advocacy, referrals, and assistance to Black, Caribbean, and African diasporic survivors of intimate partner, domestic and sexualized violence.

This position is responsible for crisis intervention, safety planning, outreach, education, and planning and facilitating weekly support group sessions for youth and adult survivors. Coordinate a range of culturally specific programming that meets the unique needs of Black and African survivors including adult and youth.

The Program Coordinator works collaboratively with other anti-violence and Black and African serving organizations and agencies to advance effective responses to survivors’ needs.

Black Feminist Leadership in Canada

In celebration of Black History Month, join us for an online roundtable discussion with Black feminist leaders working to advance the priorities of Black survivors of gender-based violence (GBV), including non-status, refugee and im/migrant women, girls, and gender-diverse people hosted by Ontario Council of Agencies Servicing Immigrants (OCASI).

When: February 23rd 2023, 1:00-2:30pm EST (online)

Register here: https://bit.ly/3Jvt6F3


  • Angela Marie MacDougall – BWSS – Battered Women’s Support Services
  • Nneka MacGregor -WomenattheCenter
  • Paulette Senior – Canadian Women’s Foundation
  • Moderated by: Debbie Douglas – OCASI

Key themes include: the legacy and leadership of Black Feminists in community-based responses to GBV; the importance of collecting data on the experiences of Black survivors; the impacts of policing and an over reliance of the legal system in addressing GBV; intersectional approaches to service provision and advocacy; and the importance of funding for a robust GBV sector.

French and ASL interpretation will be available.

This event is organized by OCASI – Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

TOMORROW: two events

Announcing two short notice events that you may be interested in attending

Not Just Another Case: When Your Loved One has Gone Missing or Been Murdered.
Join Battered Women’s Support Services Indigenous Women’s Program for a film screening and discussion of “Not Just Another Case: When Your Loved One has Gone Missing or Been Murdered.”

Date and Time: Thursday, April 14 from 6-8pm
Location: 312 Main Street and online via zoom

This is a hybrid event, please email endingviolence@bwss.org for webinar link.

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS: Film Director Audrey Huntley in-person, advocate and interviewee Terri Monture via zoom, and staff with BWSS Indigenous Women’s Program.

“Not Just Another Case: When Your Loved One has Gone Missing or Been Murdered” is an important community video resource created for family and community members experiencing the loss of a loved one. This short film is the product of a collaboration between Toronto based No More Silence and Aboriginal Legal Services. The film is 29 minutes long and walks the audience through how to organize searches, deal with the police and the legal system.

Filmmaker, Audrey Huntley, conducted interviews across the country and created a web resource where all full length interviews can be viewed: https://aboriginallegal.ca/resources/missing-persons-resource-video Please be aware that the content is difficult as the interviewees share pain and grief. The web page also houses a guide to healing from traumatic grief by Métis doctor, Janet Smylie, director of the Well Living House.

Following the film, there will discussion and question and answer with:

Audrey Huntley is a paralegal, storyteller, and co-founder of No More Silence working with other Indigenous women, trans and two-spirit people. “Not Just Another Case: When Your Loved One Has Gone Missing or Been Murdered” was created to empower Indigenous community members and provide alternatives to the mainstream institutions that fail them.

Terri Monture (via zoom) is a Kanien’kehá:ka Wolf Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River. Terri is an advocate and interviewee in the film.

Battered Women’s Support Services Indigenous Women’s Program offers services run by Indigenous women for Indigenous women. The Indigenous Women’s Program’s currently offers support programs and groups at BWSS and in partnership with other organizations. We are healing from the trauma of colonization, the effects and inter-generational effects of residential school, the loss of our children, and living life in a patriarchal society. By using holistic practices through traditional medicines and ceremonies, we are reclaiming our rightful roles as strong Indigenous women in our community, finding our voices a stand strong in our power.

Find out more about our Indigenous Women’s Program here.

#Race And Femicide
#RaceAndFemicide will offer a conversation among organizers and leaders addressing gendered and racialized violence in our communities.

Date and time: Thu, April 14, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM PDT

Location: Online event, register here

Women of color live at the crossroads of racial and gendered oppression, with dire consequences.

Join us for a conversation among organizers and leaders addressing gendered and racialized violence in our communities.

Our Executive Director Angela Marie MacDougall will join the panel to talk about our work at Battered Women’s Support Services at the intersections of race and femicide in Canada. 

#RaceAndFemicide will ground us on the roots of femicide, as well as its present day manifestations. Participants will also explore steps we can take as a collective society to find transformative solutions that do not perpetuate violence and further criminalize people, but rather get to the root causes of femicide.

Register online here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/raceand-femicide-tickets-310495569607

BWSS Annual General Meeting 2021

2021 BWSS Annual General Meeting

BWSS Annual General Meeting

When: Monday, December 6th, 2021
Call to order: 5:30p.m.
Where: Online via Zoom

Join us on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Members please email endingviolence@bwss.org to register. Once you’ve registered, you can expect us to send you a confidential meeting link via the email you’ve provided at registration.



  • Welcome and introduction: Cecilia Point
  • Approval of Minutes of Annual General Meeting 2020
  • Report from the Board of Directors
  • Report from Rosa Elena Arteaga and Angela Marie MacDougall
  • Audited Financial Statements: Jennifer Johnstone
  • Appointment of Auditor
  • Election of Directors


BWSS Board of Directors 2022:

  • Dawn Johnson
  • Cecilia Point
  • Erica Ifill
  • Jennifer Johnstone
  • Jennifer Mackie


While only current BWSS Society Members are eligible to vote at the AGM, a donation of any amount qualifies you to become a Society Member. To apply for society membership, please email endingviolence@bwss.org by Friday, December 3rd at 3pm. 

Two Events for the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-based Violence

As part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence and our new multi-year Colour of Violence project, Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) is thrilled to invite you to two upcoming events and to participate in our survey centering racialized survivors.
Youth Survivors and Dating Violence: Let’s all Recognize the Signs
Event Nov 25th 

Youth Survivors and Dating Violence – Let’s all Recognize the Signs

To launch the international campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25, 2021, we are delighted to invite you to this event.

Eternity Martis is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author

This event features Eternity Martis – Eternity Martis is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author whose debut memoir, They Said This Would Be Fun, was a “Best Book of the Year” pick by Globe and Mail, Apple, Audible, and Chapters/Indigo. CBC called the book one of “20 moving Canadian memoirs to read right now” and PopSugar named it one of “5 Books About Race on College Campuses Every Student Should Read.” This year, They Said This Would Be Fun won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for Non-Fiction.

Intimate partner violence in high school and on university campuses is an everyday occurrence—still, there is so little recognition of the prevalence and very little discussion about it.

Eternity Martis’ keynote will highlight the prevalence of dating violence, the experiences of young women, femmes, and non-binary people, and what high schools and universities can do to address it.

Also read this important thread by Eternity Martis for last year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women:

Save the date and join Battered Women’s Support Services for a webinar
Event Dec 9th

Race, Gender, and Anti-Violence Services

We are thrilled to invite you to a powerhouse online discussion with Black, Indigenous, immigrant/refugee, and racialized women on race, gender and anti-violence services on December 9, 2021.

This event will feature speakers Audrey Huntley, Sarah Jama, Farrah Khan, Elene Lam, Kelendria Nation and Andrea Ritchie, with a territorial welcome by Cecilia Point and moderated by Angela Marie MacDougall and Leslie Varley.

More information and registration at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-colour-of-violence-gender-race-and-anti-violence-services-registration-208296007967

Survey Nov 1 – Dec 9th

Have you taken our brief, anonymous survey?

We recently launched a short, anonymous survey focusing on issues of accessibility, safety, and the structural barriers of anti-violence services in British Columbia for Black, Indigenous, immigrant/refugee, and women and gender-diverse survivors of colour.

This is a completely anonymous survey with no identifying information collected that will take less than 15 minutes to fill out with 11 questions. 

Anyone who does the survey can enter a draw for $50-gift certificates to My Sisters Closet.


We are seeking the participation of those who are:

  • Black, Indigenous, immigrant/refugee, racialized
  • Identify as a cisgender or transgender woman or femme, or as a gender diverse person
  • Live in BC
  • Are 19+


The survey can be completed in different ways between November 1 and December 9, 2021:

  1. Available online: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BWSSColourofViolence
  2. Hard copies of the survey will also be available at BWSS’s Vancouver office and at both My Sister’s Closet locations. These surveys can be returned in the labelled survey return boxes at the BWSS front desk and at both My Sister’s Closet locations.
  3. There are PDF’s available for download in English, Spanish, Punjabi, Tagalog, French, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, and Farsi at: https://www.bwss.org/colour-of-violence/. Completed PDF copies can be emailed to melody@bwss.org or call 604-616-7528 to arrange return.
Take the colour of violence survey to end Gender-based Violence

31 Actions for Gender Justice: Action 23. Reproductive Justice Reading

We’ve created a list of 31 Actions for Gender Justice to raise awareness, spark conversations and take action that transforms gender and power relations, and the structures, norms and values that underpin them. Every day for the month of March we will highlight an action that advances gender equity and justice for International Women’s Day (IWD).

Reproductive Justice Recommended Reading

31 Actions for Gender Justice: Day 23

Reproductive Rights are less than 30 years old and are more than just safe abortions.

The National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda defines it as:

The human right to control our sexuality, our gender, our work, and our reproduction. That right can only be achieved when all women and girls have the complete economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about our bodies, our families, and our communities in all areas of our lives.


At the core of Reproductive Justice is the belief that all women have:
  1. the right to have children;
  2. the right to not have children and;
  3. the right to nurture the children we have in a safe and healthy environment. Read the full article here: Reproductive Justice: Beyond Safe Abortions
Reproductive Justice: recommended reading for International Women's Day

For the past decades, BWSS has been responding to calls for reproductive justice through public education and by supporting women, non-binary people, femmes and girls through different programs suitable for their unique situation. Our wrap-around services understand the intersections women, non-binary people, femmes and girls live within when faced with unjust legal systems; precarious immigration status; unsecure and unstable financial supports; no access to maternal health care; ableist laws; a society that thrives in white supremacy, capitalism and patriarchy; and settler-colonial state violence.

BWSS services include:

  • Black, Indigenous, and Latin American Women’s programs
  • Thrive, a program that supports people involved in sex economies
  • AWARE, a program that leads women to financial empowerment
  • 2SLGBTQIA+ support
  • Counselling
  • Legal advocacy
  • And more

If you are experiencing abuse—whether it is mental, physical, sexual—please know that you have options.

When it is safe to do so:

  • Contact our free crisis line that is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week:
  • Contact Options for Sexual Health:
    • Call 604-731-4252
    • Call Sex Sense for questions about sex, sexuality, and other sexual health-related questions at 1-800-739-7367) or send them a message. Sex Sense is open Monday to Friday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.