News Release: Diverse Communities Take Action on Violence Against Women

Ontario Supports Innovative Campaign to Help Change Attitudes

Original Article by: Ontario Government Newsroom | 8 December 2014

Ontario is supporting a new and innovative public education campaign that helps immigrants learn the warning signs of woman abuse.

Ontario's Neighbours, Friends and Families - Immigrant and Refugee Communities Campaign reaches out to diverse communities by developing products and activities that are accessible and relevant to newcomers.

The government is investing $836,500 over two years to support 10 programs across Ontario, including COSTI Immigrant Services, which will deliver the program in partnership with St. Stephen's Community House to students learning English. St. Stephen's Community House worked with students to develop a photo-based novel that helps students identify the signs of woman abuse and what actions they can take to help. The novel is being incorporated into COSTI's learning curriculum starting January 2015.

The campaign is being delivered to diverse communities across the province including Francophone, Aboriginal, immigrant, and refugee communities.

Other Toronto-area programs receiving support are:

  • Newcomer Women's Services Toronto to promote NFF in South Asian communities in the GTA, York and Durham Region.
  • Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants to support provincial coordination of campaign activities and to develop and maintain the NFF Immigrant and Refugee website.
  • Family Service Toronto, which will partner with Somali organizations to promote NFF in Somali communities in the GTA, Hamilton, and, Kitchener-Waterloo.

Quick Facts

  • Eighty per cent of women who experience domestic violence tell family, friends or another source of support.
  • Only 30 per cent of women who experience domestic violence report it to police.
  • The average woman will try to leave an abusive situation five times before she is successful.
  • Domestic violence is one of the most common forms of violence in Canada.

Additional Resources

  • Learn the warning signs that tell a woman is experiencing abuse.
  • Find a local Neighbours, Friends and Families community.
  • Learn more about the Ontario Women’s Directorate.


“Violence against women impacts everyone regardless of socio-economic or cultural background. Helping Ontarians in our diverse communities recognize the signs of violence while they learn English is innovative. Incorporating this issue into the learning curriculum reinforces the message that violence against women in Ontario is not tolerated.”
Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues

“English language classes for newcomers are often their first introduction to information on local resources and services. While abuse happens in every community, immigrant women face unique barriers and challenges in seeking help. This curriculum will assist English language instructors and students to reach out to women they may know who are experiencing abuse and provide information or support.”
Mario Calla, Executive Director, COSTI Immigrant Services

“St. Stephen’s Community House works closely with newcomers to Canada, providing language training and settlement services within a broad range of programing. Our resource will help participants not only discuss woman abuse but also help newcomers understand their role in ending violence.”
Liane Regendanz, Executive Director, St. Stephen’s Community House

Media Contacts

    Aly Vitunski, Minister’s Office,, 416-212-7159

    Laura Sylvis, Ontario’s Women’s Directorate,, 416-314-7010