FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Angela Marie MacDougall
Battered Women’s Support Services
604-808-0507 • www.bwss.org
Rosa Elena Arteaga, Manager,
Battered Women’s Support Services, 778-996-5993• www.bwss.org
April 23, 2012
National Crime Victims Awareness Week April 22 – 28, 2012
Taking Action to End Violence Against Girls and Women
“Women are eight times more likely than men to be killed by their spouse or romantic partner," states new report released, last Tuesday, by the BC Coroners Service.
The report looked at 120 homicides classified as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) from 2003 to 2011. IPV is defined as "intentional harm or injury inflicted by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend or other romantic partner of the victim." However, the findings of this report expose the gendered implications of these crimes: women are at the highest risk.
"These statistics only scratch the surface," said Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director, Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), "for every murdered woman represented in these statistics, there are hundreds and thousands more women and their children living in fear in British Columbia."
During National Crime Victims Awareness Week 2012, BWSS highlights “best practices” intervention and prevention initiatives. In 2011, through BWSS interventions over 4,000 individual counselling appointments were provided, 3,600 women access specialized support groups, 1,350 women were assisted with safety planning, risk assessment, crisis intervention and court accompaniment. In the absence of legal aid over 1,000 women obtained assistance with family law cases. Our services are delivered by a dedicated team of 16 staff and 40 volunteers.
"Through our statistics we have learned that now, more than ever, women are leaving abusive relationships” said Rosa Elena Arteaga, BWSS Manager, Direct Services and Programs. “Therefore, we value every opportunity to build trust and to support every woman who accesses our services. We are a small organization and we are one strong organization committed to ending violence against girls and women"
Prevention work at BWSS includes:
- Youth Ending Violence Program, where trained young women and young men facilitate workshops with their peers in high schools and community programs. Through this initiative youth work together examining their relationships with one another, identify the possibilities and conditions for violence and emotional abuse and explore how to build healthy intimate relationships.
- Online campaigns at www.bwss.org/endingviolence How Does She Resist? Resisting Media Representations to End Violence Against Girls and Women and Women, Violence and Justice. Since April 15, 2012, over 20,000 individuals have read blogs and shared through social media, raising awareness critical to long term social change.
"Over a third of women who die in this province, die at the hands of a partner – and more often at the hands of a current partner," said chief coroner Lisa Lapointe. "We need to really look at situations where domestic violence is happening, or we suspect it is happening, and make sure there are resources for those women."
Thirty-three years ago, Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) initiated this call and remains progressive providing prevention and intervention services to help end violence against girls and women.