First Responders for Women Survivors of Violence

Did you know BWSS is a First Responder?

You probably think of 911 dispatch, the police, the fire department, and paramedics when you imagine who ‘first responders’ might be. However, in the case of intimate partner violence, the majority of cases (75%) are never reported to the police. In instances of sexual violence, only 10% of cases are ever reported.

“I’ve never told anyone about how bad it was, it’s too painful and I was worried I wouldn’t be believed. My husband took everything from me, every part of me, everything. Thank you for believing in me it helps me believe in myself.” ~ Marianna

There are several reasons why women choose not to report to the police, some personal, others systemic.

For many women, their relationship with their abuser is psychologically fraught.

Often, they have deep conflicts about the care and love that remains for their abuser, and are resistant to getting them in trouble with the police.

Children are often involved, and the uncertainty of their future when placed through the family court system is too high a price to pay for many mothers.

The criminal justice system has a long history of under-response to victims of intimate partner violence, especially for women in marginalized communities. BWSS works closely with police services, child protection, health and court services to co-ordinate an effective systemic response and cultural competency training support.

Increasing the capacity of first responders attuned to the particular needs of women victims of intimate partner violence is absolutely necessary; however, the complexity of so many situations will always deter many women from reporting to the police… Instead, women call BWSS.


Will you help us be a first response?

Your gift will help BWSS be a first response for more women and girls like Christina:

“I never told anyone about the rapes. I mean, who gets raped by their husband? Today is the first time that I’ve felt safe enough to speak about it.”

You can help BWSS be a first response to more women and girls like Jasmine:

“I don’t know what I would have done without you. You helped me when I was at my lowest. Thank you.”

Every week 70 women call our crisis line for the first time and we respond to over 11,000 crisis calls annually. We are asking you to do everything you can to help.

I know you want BWSS to continue operating at the community level as a critical resource for women experiencing intimate partner violence, a first responder for thousands of women every year.


Your donation will:


Provide emotional support to a woman struggling with the nightmares and other effects of trauma


Help a woman make a safety plan with her and her children


Coordinate systemic response between police, court services, child protection for a woman who has had children apprehended due to her husband’s violence


Assist a woman in understanding the effects of witnessing her abuse has had on her son and daughter


Accompany a young mother to a transition house


Provide a risk, threat and lethality assessment for a woman at high risk of increased violence including death


Advocate for a woman with police, court services, child protection when they failed to follow the established protocols and policies and overlooked the violence in her life


Help co-ordinate food and clothing for a mother experiencing poverty after leaving her husband

You can help us continue to offer these important first response services

Provide hope, inspiration, and a real opportunity for each and every woman and girl that calls us.
Every week a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. BWSS is working to change that.