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Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies Symposium

The Critical Connections Symposium promoted increased awareness of the impact of woman abuse as it relates to the safety and well being of children and families. This event featured internationally recognized keynote speakers, highlighted collaborative programs in Ontario and launched an “ideas and practice guide” – Critical Connections: Where Woman Abuse and Child Safety Intersect – A Practice Guide for Child Welfare Professionals in Ontariofor service providers. This practice guide was heavily influenced by the feedback provided by women survivors in the December 2009 focus group facilitated by WomenatthecentrE in December.

Our Executive Director Nneka MacGregor attended and participated in panel discussions with Janet Meneses (survivor and community activist), Amandeep Kaur and Baldev Muttah (Punjabi Community Health Services), as they addressed ways to make the child welfare sector more responsive to the needs of diverse women in the province of Ontario.


Scarborough Women & Family Law Workshop

On March 6th WomenatthecentrE’s Executive Director, Nneka MacGregor, facilitated a full-day workshop with women survivors who were representing themselves in the family court. Hosted by the Scarborough Women’s Centre, this workshop provided practical tools to help women navigate the process. Our next workshop will be in April in York region.


We’ve Moved

We are excited to tell you that we have officially moved into our new location.

WomenatthecentrE are now @ The Centre for Social Innovation, 215 Spadina Avenue, Suite 121, Toronto, Ontario.


WomenatthecentrE of Child Welfare

The Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS) is developing a Practice Guide, Policies and procedures and training material on how to ‘do things differently’ through understanding the connection between woman abuse and child protection. These will shape not only the way they deliver services, or the way their training is developed and delivered, but will influence the general attitudes of the staff working within Child Welfare, from management to the front-line workers.

On December 21st, WomenatthecentrE facilitated a focus group, bringing together women survivors from all over the province to help the OACAS get a better understanding of the complexities faced by women as they try to protect themselves and their children.

It was a great opportunity for us to raise the critical issues that they needed to know in order to make Child Welfare agencies more understanding and responsive to the real issues affecting us and our children, as we move our lives forward, free from violence.

They are moving forward with an awareness of the fact that they have three issues to address:

  1. how to protect at-risk children on the one hand, while
  2. working with the mothers & safety planning for women who are experiencing (have experienced) violence, and at the same time
  3. engaging abusive male partners and holding them accountable.

Thank you to all the amazing women who came forward and shared.


WomenatthecentrE Remembers

On the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, WomenatthecentrE held a gathering to honour the 14 women who were murdered 20 years ago. The theme of this year’s event was ‘Each Life Has Value’, in recognition of all women who lose their lives in gendered violence. Click here to view the thank you note.


Mental Health & Addictions – Women’s Roundtable

In October 2008, the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care appointed an Advisory Group made up of people with lived experience of mental illness and addictions, family members, service providers and researchers to help develop a new 10 year strategy that could transform mental health and addiction services in Ontario.  In July 2009, following extensive research and discussions with people from across the province, the Advisory Group released Every Door is the Right Door, to provide a starting point for discussions on the province’s mental health and addictions strategy.

WomenatthecentrE was invited to participate in a roundtable consultation, facilitated by the Ontario Women’s Directorate, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, on the governments’ proposed 10-year Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. This roundtable focused on violence against women (VAW) and the connections between trauma associated with violence and mental illness and addiction.

In attendance were Nneka MacGregor (our Executive Director), Dawnmarie Harriott and Tania Perlin (2 of our members).

Stay tuned for more updates.


WomenatthecentrE of Law Reform

Attorney General Chris Bentley (pictured left with Tania Perlin, Nneka MacGregor, and Sheri Cohen) announced  new provisions affecting restraining orders made under the Children’s Law Reform Act and the Family Law Act.
WomenatthecentrE played an integral role in making this happen by engaging in roundtable discussions with the Ministry of the Attorney General and other advocates. We also made a submission before the Standing Committee on Social Policy on Bill 133 – a bill to amend various Acts in relation to certain family law matters and to repeal the Domestic Violence Protection Act.
Click here to view the letter from the Attorney General.
Click here for more information on changes to restraining orders.

Board Director Betty Makoni chosen as a 2009 CNN Hero

CNN honoured WomenatthecentrE Board Director Betty Makoni as one of their 2009 Heroes, at the ‘All-Star Tribute’ in Hollywood. Actress and UN Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman presented Betty with her award. Click here to view more information on Betty and her award.