This is How We Take Action to End Violence Against Girls and Women

National Crime Victims Awareness Week

April 22 – 28, 2012

by Rosa Elena Arteaga

For over thirty two years Battered Women’s Support Services has been working toward ending violence against girls and women, and every year we support thousands of women. Just alone in 2011, we responded to over 10,000 direct services requests from, young women, women and their friends and family. Our commitment to provide specialized services from a feminist, anti-oppression analysis that recognizes intersectionality and centers de-colonizing practices remains paramount.

Though our programs we have contributed to positively affect women’s lives. Women from diverse communities access BWSS and benefit from a woman-centered approach. Women who have accessed BWSS programs have made changes in their lives, in their children’s lives and in their communities. We are certain to say that so many women who have accessed our services are living a life free from violence. They extend their strength and knowledge to their families and into their communities. A number of women have become agents for change.

In 2011, at Battered Women’s Support Services we provided:

  • 4,036 individual counselling appointments though our Stopping the Violence Counselling Program.
  • Over 3,600 women accessed 40 different specialized support groups.
  • Over 1,350 women obtained assistance with safety planning and risk assessment, crisis intervention, information, court accompaniments, advocacy and emotional support through our Community Based-Victim Service Program
  • Over 1,000 women obtained legal information, advocacy, court accompaniments and accessed legal remedies though our Legal Services and Advocacy Program
  • 40 women graduated as Crisis Workers through our Violence Prevention and Crisis Intervention Training Program
  • Over 400 volunteers joined the effort of ending violence against girls and women volunteering in our Intake and Crisis Line Program, Office Volunteer Program and My Sister’s Closet – social enterprise of Battered Women’s Support Services (located at 1092 Seymour Street at Helmcken in Vancouver).

Our services are integral to women’s survival. We are a small organization with a big heart and we are committed to continue enhaincing our services as well as to serve as many women as possible.

Here is what some of the women who have accessed our programs have said:

“I am so fortunate that I got the courage to pick up the phone and call BWSS. I am feeling better. I am working very hard on myself and I am going to make it”

“Please provide more of these groups. They are so helpful in breaking the cycle of violence!”

“Your support makes me want to face my past and move on knowing I’m not alone.”

"Growing up, I learned that women are subservient to men, women are to serve men, men are more intelligent,men have authority/they are in charge,women have to please men,our value comes from what we look like, e.g. if you are pretty, thin, have big breast, if you are not too dark… I got these ideas from my family, my community, school and other men in my life. I now know that I can challenge those ideas. I am now proud of being who I am. I am a strong woman"

Rosa Elena Arteaga


Rosa Elena Arteaga has been working in the anti-violence field for over twelve years providing crisis intervention, advocacy and support to girls and women who experience violence as well as delivering training on violence against women to community and service providers. For the last 8 years she has worked as the Manager of Direct Services and Programs at BWSS. Rosa Elena is wildly passionate about her work which is framed in an anti-colonial feminist, anti-oppression analysis. She is an active agent of change towards eradicating violence against girls and women.