“Their Spirits Live Within Us” 26th Annual Women’s Memorial March

Memorial March Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

“Their Spirits Live Within Us” Join Battered Women’s Support Services on Sunday, February 14th for the 26th Annual Women’s Memorial March. The February 14th Women’s Memorial March is an opportunity to come together to grieve the loss of our beloved sisters in Downtown Eastside Vancouver and to dedicate ourselves to justice.

Here’s more about the march: https://www.facebook.com/events/567879256695101/

Memorial March Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

Women’s Safety and Outreach Program

After a successful pilot project, Battered Women’s Support Services Women’s Safety and Outreach Program (WSOP) re-launched on Monday, March 31st, 2014. We thank you for your ongoing support during this period of reflection and restructuring.

We continue to seek to end violence against women and girls in the Downtown Eastside, Vancouver Community, Coast Salish Territory, by providing:

1) Education and Awareness Outreach: We seek to shift the culture of violence against women in the Downtown Eastside  Vancouver community through education and awareness. Trained staff and volunteers are equipped to provide information to the many single room occupancies (SROs), shelters, front line service providers, and organizations to raise awareness of the dynamics of sexual and physical assault, program hours, and services available for women and girls. Specific outreach to SROs will be undertaken to increase program accessibility for women who do not access mainstream services during mainstream hours.  The program is inclusive of self-identified women, young women, Indigenous women, seniors, Immigrant women, and women who do sex work and of particular importance for Indigenous women, we are equipped to deliver services that are culturally appropriate.

2) Mobile Crisis Response: Trained staff and volunteers provide a mobile crisis intervention for women survivors of assault and sexual assault and/or abuse through

  • Crisis intervention and support- risk assessment, safety planning with a biopsychosocial, women-centered approach
  • Emotional support
  • Support with injuries sustained- accompaniment to hospital, medical services, sexual assault services
  • Transportation for women fleeing violence to housing (transition, shelter)
  • Response is inclusive of harm reduction supplies such as condoms, personal care items
  • Response and services accessible through a dedicated mobile number
  • Resource referral
  • Advocacy

3) Follow –up: WSOP is relational to reduce the isolation through encouraging ongoing contact with BWSS and the anchoring of supports with other community organizations. The inclusion of an office space allows for immediate daytime follow-up on an outreach basis, if required.  In addition, anti-violence services such as Stopping the Violence counseling and support groups will be offered at the location.

Our collaborations will continue with community organizations to include cross referrals, education, awareness, outreach, and access to office and/or interview space. It is crucial to understand the complexity of the experiences women and girls are navigating in and how offering services is a huge part of women’s empowerment.

Our Women’s Safety and Outreach Program operates on Monday – Friday from 5pm to 1am. Please share below Program’s poster widely.




You can download the poster here.

If you could do something to end violence against girls and women, wouldn’t you?


B.C. gets “barely passing grade” on women’s equality from Vancouver legal group

By Yolande Cole

B.C. gets barely passing grade on women’s equality from Vancouver legal group


A Vancouver non-profit legal organization has assigned what it describes as a “barely passing grade” to B.C. in its annual evaluation of women’s rights in the province.

In a report released today (October 18), the West Coast Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund gave a score of C- in its assessment of how B.C. is measuring up to obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

The organization argues that B.C. is falling particularly behind in the areas of women’s access to justice, social assistance and poverty, and missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls.

According to West Coast LEAF legal director Laura Track, the issue of poverty is a common theme identified across all categories evaluated.

“Whether we’re considering women’s access to safe housing, childcare, legal aid, women’s health, issues of violence, the disproportionate impact of poverty on women is very clear,” she told the Straight by phone.

“And B.C.’s poverty rate, which has been the highest in the country for the last 12 years, masks even higher rates of poverty for particular groups of women, particularly aboriginal women, immigrant women, and women heading lone-parent families.”

The category that scored the lowest grade in the organization’s report card was access to justice.

“It’s very, very difficult to get legal representation through legal aid for family law matters, and for women that’s particularly significant because of the fact that women tend to be more likely to be economically disadvantaged by the breakdown of a relationship, and to find themselves in need of free legal representation to deal with custody and access matters, child support, spousal support, division of property and all of those issues that go along with the breakdown of a relationship,” said Track.

She argued the common theme of poverty throughout the group’s evaluation points to a need for a provincial anti-poverty strategy. In the group’s report, they note that nearly 50 percent of children of new immigrants in B.C. are living in poverty—a statistic identified in a November 2011 report on child poverty from the organization First Call B.C.

“That is a shocking number, and I think highlights the ways in which many of these issues that we look at, and in particular poverty, have disproportionate impacts on already marginalized populations,” Track commented.

The organization also assigned a failing grade to the province’s action on missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. A public inquiry on police investigations of missing women from the Downtown Eastside drew criticism last year, following the B.C. government’s decision not to cover the legal costs of community groups.

West Coast LEAF did give higher marks in some areas, such as the issue of violence against women, following the passage of the new Family Law Act. The organization also raised the grade it assigned in its report last year in the category of housing, following new provincial investments in supportive housing for women.


The article was published on Straight.com on October 18, 2012.