BlogCovid-19

Manitoba Government Press Release–A new online family violence awareness course is now available to Manitoba government employees and other front-line workers around the province, Sport, Culture and Heritage Minister Cathy Cox, minister responsible for the status of women, announced today.

“As rates of family violence continue to rise as a result of COVID-19, it’s especially important to give frontline workers the tools they need to help protect Manitobans,” said Cox. “While many family violence survivors do not reach out for formal support, they may share their stories with a case worker, probation officer, nurse or employer. This course will help foster the listening skills and understanding needed to support survivors.”

The new self-directed learning program was developed by Willow Place in partnership with government and community stakeholders across the province to support greater empathy for survivors and increased awareness of available resources. The training is now available to the civil service at no cost and the province is providing $7,500 to the Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters (MAWS) to make the training available for up to 1,500 additional participants free of charge.

The course was developed as part of a project initiated by Willow Place called Challenge for Change, which was funded by Women and Gender Equality Canada (formerly Status of Women Canada).

“The Challenge for Change project was undertaken to support, align and mobilize efforts to change the current rates of family and gender-based violence,” said Lesley Lindberg, project manager for the Challenge for Change project. “This online training has been designed to challenge commonly held misconceptions, provide a deeper understanding of the issue and offer resources to anyone who may encounter someone experiencing it. We hope it will support our collective quest to end violence and oppression in all its forms.”

The training was piloted by front-line staff from a variety of areas within Manitoba Families as well as front-line workers and representatives from Indigenous, newcomer and LGBTQ2+ communities. The course will benefit front-line service providers who are not experts in family violence, human resource departments and managers in any field. It could also be provided as orientation material for volunteers, board members and incoming staff to family violence organizations. Any individual seeking a deeper understanding of domestic and family violence could also benefit, noted the minister.

The training program is now available on the Manitoba government staff development portal and those outside of government may contact fvcourse@maws.mb.ca for a free access code.

Willow Place is a Winnipeg-based family violence organization with shelter facilities and a range of on-site and community-based services, and is one of 10 provincially funded shelters. Willow Place is a member of MAWS, the not-for-profit organization providing backbone support to the shelters and affiliate members working in the sector. MAWS works to strengthen the family violence and gender-based violence system by collaborating across systems, building and sharing information and resources, increasing public awareness and supporting alignment and co-ordination.

November is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the province is reminding Manitobans affected by family and intimate partner violence of available resources. The province provides funding to support a confidential 24-7, toll-free crisis line staffed by shelters across the province. Manitobans can call 1-877-977-0007, text 204-792-5302 or 204-805-6682, or visit www.gov.mb.ca/familyviolence. In an emergency, dial 911 or call the local police service.