Women’s Place of South Niagara launches public education program on violence and gender stereotypes
Gender stereotypes don’t just involve women, according to a presentation made by Women’s Place of South Niagara to Welland City Council earlier this week.
Local politicians heard about a new program offered by the agency, made possible by a grant from Women and Gender Equality Canada.
The public education initiative is designed to provide workshops, community events, training for staff on abuse, as well as addressing gender stereotypes and “how to stop the cycle”, said the prevention officer and of Public Education Samantha Forbes in her presentation.
It also involves information on how to respond to reports of abuse occurring at home and in the workplace, as well as planning for safety.
It’s important to teach younger generations that domestic violence affects everyone, Forbes said.
“Without teaching kids about gender stereotypes and how to be healthy human beings, violence happens,” she told Welland advisers.
According to Forbes’ presentation, more than 3,000 men died by suicide in Canada in 2020, compared to more than 950 women who also did so.
She admits this issue is “difficult to address” but said the way women can be pervasive in the world is part of a “toxic system” that benefits no one.
“Put simply, what the research tells us is that how we view women and girls in society ultimately perpetuates abuse,” Forbes said.
Organizations that have been consulted for the program include Family and Children’s Services, local multicultural centres, the Niagara Native Women’s Chapter, as well as Brock University and Niagara College.
Forbes said she reached out to local high schools to publicize the program.
Last September, Women’s Place announced plans to close its Serenity Place site in Welland and restructure how it protects women in the southern part of Niagara. He said that by consolidating his lodging space at Nova House in Niagara Falls, where a $3.6 million expansion is underway, he can increase capacity by 25% and increase the number of beds to 40.
Pathstone Mental Health purchased the site at 102 River Rd. earlier this year and will provide individual counselling, group clinics and walk-in support to help meet the increased needs of children and provide mental health services to young people in the southern part of Niagara.
Women’s Place opened a satellite office at the Hope Center in April, offering counseling and housing assistance by appointment.
Women’s Place receives 70% of its funding from the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. A family court support worker position is funded by the Ministry of the Attorney General.
The agency receives support from Niagara United Way and the Branscombe Family Foundation, as well as municipal grants from Niagara Falls, Wainfleet, Port Colborne and Pelham.
There are also satellite offices in Fort Erie and Port Colborne.