BWSS-Battered Women Support Services


Photo credit: www.bwss.org


Resources like, Battered Women's Support Services (BWSS) are used as a way to effectively address conflict when it arises. BWSS was founded in 1979 by a team of devoted women who sought to empower the voices of other women standing against violence and oppression in their communities. The organization focuses on providing support and advocacy for women who have experienced abuse, and education/training for those living through violence. BWSS is devoted to providing full spectrum front-line support for women living in violence because they are mindful that "safety changes everything." Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director of BWSS and tenured anti-violence activist and leader spoke about her work. Her career focused on building the necessary pillars to support women living in violence and addressing deeper intersections of inequalities within our communities. Divorce rates and domestic violence rates spiked locally and globally in the wake of social-distancing regulations and lock down procedures urging people to stay home. To learn first hand from sister agencies, Angela flew to China shortly before border-crossing restrictions were enforced. Women can now reach out for support via phone, text or on their website since BWSS went from operating on standard business hours, a.k.a "nine to five", to a full 24/7 resource. Increasing accessibility for women beyond the Vancouver, BC area is easier because of the alternate contact options. Angela mentioned that physical safety can be and often is the most crucial component for personal wellbeing, despite the current importance of social-distancing, which is why the team is working around the clock to provide support where needed. The organization does not receive government funding. Despite this they have successfully launched My Sister's Closet Thrift Boutique (2 locations), training programs and campaigns (link) for ending violence against women. The retail program allows BWSS to provide free clothing and household goods to women rebuilding their lives free from violence. The boutique is a funding source to ensure their long term financial sustainability as an organization. My Sister’s Closet has taken a heavy hit due to COVID-19, as they received funds from shoppers and donors to continue supporting survivors of gender-based violence with crisis intervention, counselling, and legal advocacy. The boutique has moved onto an online shop and all proceeds will continue support ending violence against women.


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Helpful links:


BWSS CRISIS LINE 604-687-1867

TOLL-FREE 1-855-687-1868

BWSS SUPPORT


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