We congratulate Niki Sharma, who has recently accepted a position working with the provincial government and will leave the position of Manager, Legal Services and Advocacy. Though it is difficult to see Niki leave BWSS it is wonderful to know she will apply her talents towards making British Columbia a better place.
Niki shared this touching acknowledgement of the crucial work that happens every day in the effort to end violence against women at Battered Women’s Support Services.
“By the time a woman has picked up the phone to call Battered Women’s Support Services, she has suffered greatly from violence and at the hands of the systems that are supposed to protect her and her family from violence.
Her call is answered by a committed and passionate group of women that will do everything they can to empower her to find safety and overcome. They will ferociously take on the systems that stand in the way of her empowerment.
I have been a part of BWSS for over ten years now. Recently, I have had a chance to work alongside this dedicated team. I will be forever grateful for this time. It has taught me that we can create systems that are strong enough to dismantle oppression and make real change. Every service, program and intervention offered by BWSS is thoughtfully designed with one thing in mind – whether it will help end violence in a woman’s life. This unwavering purpose runs deeply throughout this organization and has kept it strong in the face of any challenges.
I learned that for the first ten years of its existence, BWSS operated without any paid staff – a group of volunteers answered the calls of women in crisis. From these humble beginnings and against all odds, BWSS leadership has built this organization in strength and numbers to thrive for over 35 years. I have much respect for this achievement and the impact this has on women every day.
Although I am sad to leave my role at BWSS, I will remain a part of this organization in any way I can in the future. ”
Over 80% of women accessing BWSS services identify at least one legal issue where they require information. BWSS legal services and advocacy work spans family, immigration, refugee, and criminal law as well as the Indian Act. It cannot be underscored enough how important access to justice and our Legal Services and Advocacy Program are for women’s long term safety and freedom from violence.
Our legal team includes supervised staff, interns and volunteer lawyers that provide legal information, accompaniment to court and legal appointments, we appeal when legal aid has been denied and we provide assistance for documents and affidavits preparation.