2017 was a big year for us at Neighbours, Friends and Families. We increased the amount of blog content we’ve been adding, responded to many different news stories and political issues, and as always, worked hard for change. We cheered alongside MP Peggy Sattler as she introduced bill to provide domestic violence victims with paid leave and we cheered the Wynne government when they passed a bill with many of the provisions from Peggy Sattler’s initial private members bill. We cried along with the many family members and friends that lost loved ones at the hands of a partner or parent. We talked about the best ways every single one of us can learn how to recognize the signs of domestic violence and help someone in need. And we were excited to create and launch a FREE visual tools section on our website. These infographics and documents are for anyone to use and are perfect to place in any workplace, community room or centre, or public bathroom. Please take a look through them and send to anyone you think may be interested.
Here’s a look back at 2017, including our most popular blog posts and hot topics.
• Women’s shelters are a necessary fixture in our society and can serve as crucial safe havens for women fleeing abusive relationships. We shared with you all the ways you can help your local shelter and talked about what shelters really need in terms of donations.
• We had a guest blogger write about why it’s imperative that we engage men in the conversation to end violence against women.
• Teachers are often in one of the best positions to recognize signs of domestic abuse in children. Along with a professional working in the field of education, we discussed all the unique ways teachers can help as well as some typical warning signs of abuse.
• We shared incredibly powerful and moving first person stories from courageous women. Maha, Ahlam and Houda El-Birani each wrote about their own experience and feelings after experiencing domestic violence themselves and having their mother tragically taken from them at the hands of their father. Dawn Novak wrote about her experiences with a domestic violence murder trial. Her daughter, Natalie, was only 20 years old when she was murdered by a former boyfriend. Dawn and her husband Ed now advocate for and work hard to help educate others, especially young adults, about domestic violence.
• We responded to current news events, such as the online violent behaviour of Donald Trump, the strong link between mass shootings and domestic violence, and the searing fact that pregnancy drastically increases the risk of domestic violence and death.
• Finally, we ended 2017 by marking the 16 Days of Action to end violence against women. Each day, we shared an actionable tip that anyone can do, whether it’s taking steps to help a friend or co-worker who is being abused, sharing crucial information with others by printing out some of our free visual resources, or ensuring your workplace has a domestic violence policy.
While we close the chapter on this past year and move into a new year, we’re looking ahead at what else we can do.
• We can advocate for change, both at a personal and political level.
• We can lobby our local members of parliament for stronger support for victims of domestic violence as well as stricter laws and better protection for women who have been abused.
• We can support our local women’s shelters.
• We can train our employees on how to spot domestic violence and teach everyone how to help someone in need.
There is no shortage of action any one of us can take. We can all play a role in ending violence against women. Let’s work together and create even more change in 2018.