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DAY 1 – November 28, 2019

Voices from the Margins: Engaging, Listening, Learning and Co-Creating

To gain a deeper understanding of complex social issues and challenges – such as gender-based sexual and domestic violence – and generate relevant solutions, we benefit from engaging with and learning from people with lived expertise. At the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, we are exploring different ways to connect with those whose voices are often not heard or considered in the design and delivery of public policies, strategies, and programs. In this interactive workshop, we will explore what “meaningful, sustainable and relevant” engagement looks and feels like. We will share how the RCY is engaging children, youth and young adults in new and novel ways and what we are learning in the process. Participants are invited to bring forward their engagement challenges as well as their practices and ideas, so that we collectively become more skillful at bringing the voices from the margins into the centre of our practice.

Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth is British Columbia’s Representative for Children and Youth. Jennifer has worked in the BC social and health care sectors since 1977 in front-line child welfare, social policy, program management, and executive roles, and was engaged in formative work on de-institutionalization and community inclusion for people with disabilities, women’s and girls’ health, mental health, and youth services. As part of her extensive background in the service of children, Jennifer has taught child and youth care at the University of Victoria, has been the Executive Director of the Federation of Community Social Services of BC, and is the founder of the Leadership 2020 program for the Federation. She has also been involved with InWithForward and, for the past two years, has been working with Chief Wedlidi Speck and other leaders to inspire culturally safer workplaces for Indigenous staff and people served. Jennifer has a PhD in Child and Youth Care from the University of Victoria, and an MBA from Oxford Brookes University in Oxford, England. She is the parent of two vibrant young women who remind her daily of the power and promise of young people.


Recognizing and Responding to Trauma in the Courtroom, Hearing Room or Interview Room

The ways in which we examine, question, and listen to the evidence of a complainant who is seeking protection or justice after one assault (or many assaults) or due to some other significant crisis has the potential to achieve more than justice, it presents us with an opportunity or potential to transform and repair a broken relationship. This workshop will offer strategies for engaging with a client or complainant in a manner that is trauma-informed and culturally competent. We will also identify and explore our own areas of vulnerability to vicarious trauma and explore approaches to safeguard our mental health against the detrimental effects of repeated and prolonged exposure to the traumas of others.

Myrna McCallum, LLB, is an Indigenous (Métis-Cree) lawyer from the Métis village of Green Lake, Saskatchewan in Treaty Six territory, and she is also a registered Indian at nearby Waterhen Lake First Nation. Myrna has spent most of her legal career working in Indigenous communities, most often serving survivors of sexual violence as a Crown prosecutor, an Indian Residential School adjudicator, and an Investigations Director. Throughout her legal practice, Myrna learned a great deal about trauma, its impacts on memory, communication and behaviour, and the significant difference applying a trauma-informed approach has on the survivors who entrust her to witness their pain, receive their stories, and assess their evidence. As a former Indian Residential School student (Lebret IRS) and foster kid (Sixties/Seventies Scoop), Myrna has become passionate about educating lawyers, judges and police officers on Indigenous intergenerational and direct trauma as well as trauma-informed legal practice. Myrna owns and operates Miyo Pimatisiwin Legal Services in North Vancouver, BC.


Supporting LGBTQ Newcomers Who Have Experienced Gender-Based Violence

This session will help participants understand the unique experiences and every day challenges of LGBTQ newcomer and refugees in Canada. It will also provide participants with a deeper understanding of the nuances of gender-based violence in this population. The workshop aims to expand service providers’ knowledge and build skills in order to better connect with and serve LGBTQ newcomers. This session is a collaboration between Rainbow Refugee (a not-for-profit agency founded in Vancouver in 2003 to support folks seeking refugee protection in Canada because of fear of persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status), I Belong (a program at MOSAIC that supports LGBTQIA2+ immigrants through discussions, awareness raising, and support groups), and the Ending Violence Association of BC’s Safe Choices LGBT2SQ+ Support and Education Program (a program that facilitates healthy relationship workshops and service provider education workshops on relationship violence in LGBT2SQ+ communities).

Nazanin Moghadami is a feminist, activist, and registered clinical counsellor and supervisor, practicing in Vancouver. Her passion for equity and social justice, paired with her lived experiences and philosophies manifest in many different ways in her life, from serving as the Regional Chair of the BC Association of Clinical Counsellors (BCACC), to running queer competency workshops for agencies, to providing supervision to sexual assault support workers or organizing social gatherings in the community. You can either find Nazanin online by searching her name, or catch her walking her dog or riding her bike in East Vancouver.

Kiana Reyes is a cis, queer, settler of colour of Filipinx and Chinese ancestry, who works towards building inclusive spaces and services for LGBTQIA+ newcomers on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. She strives to create strong relationships with the people around her, and is actively involved with community groups. Kiana can be found playing on queer sports leagues, and enjoys spending most, if not all, of her time with her puppy, Koda.


Sexual Assault Reporting Options: Increasing Access for Women with Disabilities

From the moment a woman who has been sexually assaulted reaches out for help from victim services and/or the police, she must deal with a complex system with many unfamiliar procedures and processes. For many women with disabilities, these procedures and processes can create barriers to fair access and therefore, unfair outcomes, because the information is not available in a way they understand or a communication format that they use. This session will provide participants with information and skills practice on new outreach and communication tools developed by Disability Alliance BC in partnership with EVA BC and Chastity Davis Consulting. The focus is on increasing the capacity of victim-serving organizations to engage in effective and inclusive communications and outreach in order to break down barriers experienced by women with disabilities and Indigenous women who are survivors of sexual assault.

Karen Martin has worked with Disability Alliance BC (DABC) since 2004 in the capacity of project development and coordination, research, and curriculum development and training on access and inclusion for people with disabilities. From 2012-2015, DABC partnered with the DisAbled Women’s Network (DAWN) Canada on projects addressing violence against people with disabilities. Karen has continued to coordinate projects for DABC, creating resources for service organizations and people with disabilities who are victims of crime. Since 2013, Karen has delivered workshops and presentations on people and women with disabilities to anti-violence and victim-serving organizations and at symposiums and forums. She has been a disability and violence subject matter expert for research and publications for EVA BC and the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence. Currently, and coordinates DABC’s Sexual Assault Reporting Options: Increasing Access for Women with Disabilities project. Karen is a member of the Community Coordination for Women’s Safety Working Group.

Morgen Baldwin has supported and trained coordination initiatives focused on domestic and sexual violence across BC since 2001, working as a Regional Coordinator with the Ending Violence Association of BC’s Community Coordination for Women’s Safety (CCWS) program. Morgen has worked for the past 27 years in a variety of capacities to address domestic and sexual violence, including shelter outreach and specialized victim assistance work, community strategic planning, school-based prevention workshops, training for system and community agencies, and public education. She currently leads the provincial Third Party Reporting protocol with the CCWS Legal Analyst.


Minimizing Social Media and Mobile Communications Risks While Supporting Victims/Survivors of Crime

In the moments where a life has changed by crime, victimization, or a violation of safety it is imperative that those who support victims/survivors explore every possible scenario of information sharing. This session will focus on the current trends in social media and mobile communications, where support can be given through the Internet, how to educate victims/survivors to further protect themselves from harm via the Internet and personal devices, and to identify how and when online communications are best utilized in victim/survivor support.

Jesse Miller, MA, PgDip, is a recognized authority on the topics of Internet safety, social media awareness, and communication trends. As an international speaker who has addressed thousands of participants, Jesse is in high demand as a keynote speaker on the topics of social media awareness, social networking behaviour, and online content evaluation. The majority of his engagements are social media awareness presentations within education networks including primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools and because of these unique audiences, his presentations are continually developing with emerging trends as social media itself evolves. Jesse is a trusted resource to numerous school districts and public safety agencies including municipal and federal police within Canada who use his expertise to address issues that occur in social media environments.


Decolonizing the Healing Process: Working with Indigenous Clients

This training is to bring awareness and understanding on the impacts of historical trauma and working with Indigenous clients who have been impacted with interpersonal violence. This training is to enhance the service delivery to Indigenous clients and their families by educating on the emotional, mental, and spiritual impacts of colonization.

Corrine McArthur is from the Kahkewistahaw First Nations that is within the Treaty 4 Territory. She provides counselling services to individuals who have been impacted by sexual violence, and also provides public workshops and trainings on sexual violence and child sexual abuse prevention and healing. Corrine has authored a book on decolonizing the healing process from sexual abuse; working with Indigenous clients and their families. Corrine also teaches at the University of Regina for the Faculty of Social work.

Click here to register for ATF 2019!


DAY 2 – November 29, 2019

A Brief Look at Response-Based Practice

In this workshop, Cathy Richardson will lay out the fundamentals of response-based practice.  These include dignity, safety, resistance, and the importance of using accurate descriptions and terms for depicting acts of violence.  She will discuss how to structure safety into the process and provide examples of these concepts in action.  Cathy will also demonstrate a live interview and provide opportunities for practice and conversation.

Dr. Catherine Richardson/Kinewesquao is a therapist, researcher, activist, and an  author.  She is the Director of First Peoples Studies at Concordia University in Montreal and a co-founder of the Centre for Response-Based Practice.  Cathy is Métis with Cree, Dene and Gwichin ancestry. She teaches counsellors and social workers and promotes system change and decolonization in all areas of social services.

Cathy is a lead researcher for a number of current studies, such as the Quebec Youth Network Chair, the Canadian Domestic Homicide Prevention Initiative With Vulnerable Populations, and documenting promising practices for Indigenous transition house work (FRIDAA).  Cathy is the winner of the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association Indigenous Practice Award in 2019, and she is a co-organizer of the Dignity conferences.  She is currently working on three books which should be available in 2020.  Cathy was a Green Party candidate in the Quebec provincial election in 2018.


Intimate Partner Violence Risk Assessment and Safety Planning with South Asian Immigrant Women: The Transnational Perspective

For most women experiencing IPV, leaving abusive relationships is difficult under the best of conditions. But for many immigrant women who may be marginalized because of their ethnicity, religion, economic and social status, and/or newcomer status in Canada, there are additional barriers.

The aim of this session is to discuss IPV screening, risk assessment, and safety planning focusing on South Asian immigrant women. Using a cross-border, transnational perspective, the goal is to understand South Asian women’s responses to IPV in the context of their lived realities in the countries of origin, unequal participation in immigration processes, and access to formal services and informal networks before and after migration to Canada. Service providers and outreach workers will have opportunities to share experiences and discuss implications for connecting and working with South Asian immigrant women.

Vathsala Illesinghe, MD, is a Policy Studies PhD Candidate at the Yeates School of Graduate Studies, Ryerson University, Toronto. She is a Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Joseph-Armand Bombardier Scholar and serves as an advisor to the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability. Prior to her permanent migration to Canada, Vathsala worked on the frontlines as a doctor, researched violence against women, and advocated for practice and policy change for more than 12 years in Sri Lanka. As an experienced violence against women researcher and a new immigrant woman in Canada, Vathsala brings a deep understanding of South Asian women’s vulnerability to violence in their home countries, the complexities surrounding their migration experiences, and the gaps in services and responses to addressing violence experienced by immigrant and refugee women in Canada. Her current research is aimed at seeking a better understanding of the complex intersections of gender, violence, and immigration policy in Canada.


Creating Safer, Inclusive Access to Services and Reporting Tools for Sex Workers

Sex workers face an inordinate amount of stigma and bias in many aspects of their lives; everything from navigating personal relationships, to accessing medical care, to seeking mainstream employment, or reporting sexual violence. Stigma often leads to the severe normalizing of, and underreporting of, violence faced by sex workers. Further, that stigma and bias often leave sex workers feeling unsafe, unwelcome, or unwilling to access services and supports following violence and assaults. Join us for this interactive workshop that will dismantle stereotypes about the diversity of sex work and sex workers; and explore the types of biases and stigma sex workers have reported experiencing when accessing supports and services.  This workshop will be an opportunity to collaboratively evaluate and consider ways sexual assault services can be more welcoming of, and safer to, current and former sex workers.

Mebrat Beyene is an Eritrean, born in Ethiopia and raised in Montreal. She is a mother, community developer, teacher, and singer known for her passion, enthusiasm, and energy. As executive director of WISH and co-chair of Living in Community, Mebrat supports women and initiatives related to the health and safety of women engaged in street-based sex work. She has worked in social justice, and non-profit management and community development for close to twenty years. Mebrat has worked closely with women and women-serving organizations as a Programs Officer with Status of Women Canada; and served as executive director of PeerNetBC. In a volunteer capacity, Mebrat sits on the Boards of MATCH International Women’s Fund and Pivot Legal Society; serves on the City of Vancouver’s Black History Month Planning Committee, and also volunteers with the Vancouver Youth Choir. She lives in East Van, doing much singing, adventuring and plotting with her son…much to their cat’s chagrin.

Velvet Steele is a staunch crusader for the rights of trans people and sex workers. A life of social activism and advocacy began when she won the right to access healthcare for people who are trans in British Columbia. Her ongoing work with the LGBTQ2+ community has strengthened her resolve to fiercely fight for the rights and specialized needs of minorities in her community whether defined by ethnicity, culture, social background, sexuality, sexual preference, or gender expression and presentation.

She advises community groups, government agencies, NGOs, and parent and youth groups on issues associated with the trans community. Her work here extends to numerous educational institutions, conferences, and awareness projects, making her a much sought-after presenter to share her knowledge and unique life experiences.

In April 2017, she began work with the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) providing training to cadets, as well as current members and associates. Development is in the works to expand this project to stakeholders in both the public and private sectors. She was honoured to accept the opportunity to join the City of Vancouver’s Sex Work Task Force in response to the Wally Oppal findings detailed in the Missing Women’s Commission Report. She educated employment offices, medical professionals, social workers, and students on the multifaceted world of Sex Work as Sensitivity Facilitator with Living in Community. Velvet advises to the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform and is a member of the British Columbia Coalition of Experiential Communities. She maintains relationships with progressive sex worker organizations throughout the country.

Jamie Lee Hamilton – bio not yet available


Advocacy Skills: Supporting Clients Through the Family Court Process

This skills-based workshop will focus on bringing applications for protection orders. There is often an urgent need to obtain a protection order when a woman leaves an abusive relationship. This workshop will address how to complete court forms to obtain a protection order in Provincial Court and how to draft an affidavit in support of an application. The difference between fact and argument will be discussed, and the relevant law of evidence as it applies to written evidence will be outlined. Taruna will use examples of her work in BC to show how to best make arguments and present evidence with a trauma-centred approach. She will also briefly go over some tips on how to complete a financial statement in Provincial Court.

Taruna Agrawal is responsible for the Family Advocate Support Line at Rise, assisting advocates across BC in delivering legal services to their clients. Before commencing work at Rise, Taruna practiced in the areas of family and immigration law. She has also been a supervising lawyer and an advocate for non-profit organizations. She is a subject editor on Clicklaw Wikibooks for the chapter entitled “Immigrants and Family Law.” Taruna is passionate about access to justice and works daily to ensure that people, especially women leaving abusive relationships, have access to affordable counsel.

Andrea Bryson joined the Rise team in 2018 as Case Manager, as the first point of contact for women accessing our services and to be a resource to service providers seeking assistance for their clients. Andrea has been working in the non-profit sector for 14 years, 11 of which were spent working in family law advocacy with women leaving abuse. She is best known for her work with women with precarious status and women experiencing complex litigation, and for her knowledge of the legal aid system. Andrea is a seasoned speaker and presenter on family law and intimate partner violence. She holds a BSW in anti-oppressive social work, which is central to her practice in witnessing the many ways that women experiencing abuse resist oppressive systems they come into contact with.


Building Leadership Capacity Within Coordination Initiatives

This workshop will assist participants in developing knowledge and practical skills to enhance and strengthen their capacity to lead within coordination initiatives that respond to gender-based violence.

Through a combination of lecture, dialogue with peers, and case studies, anti-violence workers will have an opportunity to increase their leadership skills in working with interdisciplinary community initiatives.

Three key themes will be emphasized throughout:

  • Bringing a feminist perspective to community coordination
  • Building skills to facilitate diverse groups with competing and at times
    conflicting perspectives and interests
  • Working together to bring about change for women across the ages who
    have experienced violence

Kristi Yuris is currently a Regional Coordinator with Community Coordination for Women’s Safety, a program of EVA BC. She is a passionate educator and feminist. She has an extensive background working with a variety of marginalized populations and providing capacity building training to service providers. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking with her beloved pup, yoga, reading, and hanging out with her adorable nephew and nieces.

Nancy Regular is a passionate anti-violence advocate and feminist. She joined the CCWS team as a Regional Coordinator in July 2019. Nancy has a variety of experience leading coordination initiatives to address sexualized and intimate partner violence at the local and systemic level, including experience on an Interagency Case Assessment Team (ICAT), a Violence Against Women In Relationships (VAWIR) Committee, and a Sexualized Assault Response Team (SART). She also has front-line experience working with survivors of sexualized violence as well as in a transition house. She is passionate about the ways in which strong collaboration among agencies fosters better outcomes for survivors of violence as well as sustainability for front-line workers. In her spare time, she enjoys paddle boarding, reading, and spending time outdoors.


Moving Beyond the Referral: Providing Meaningful Wrap-Around Support to Older Survivors of Violence and Abuse

System navigation is critical for older adult survivors of abuse and violence, particularly seniors living with disabilities and chronic health issues. In this session we will explore how to conduct a holistic assessment of an older person’s needs and support them to access the assistance they require. Presenters will discuss legal concepts relevant to supporting older survivors, highlight barriers older survivors encounter, and identify family dynamics that can impact support needs. Participants will get an opportunity to work through scenarios of abuse to identify strategies for supporting different seniors. The session will be useful to victim services workers and other staff who support survivors, and also to managers, funders and others who are involved in program and policy design.

Krista James is the National Director of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law, and a staff lawyer with the British Columbia Law Institute. Krista’s work is focused on legal and policy issues related to aging. Her practice includes legal research, policy analysis, and public legal education, involving stakeholders from healthcare, labour, finance, justice and other sectors. She has written on topics such as abuse and neglect of older adults, mental capacity, health care consent, discrimination, and caregiving policy. She has a particular interest in how aging, gender, and other aspects of identity intersect to impact experience. Before joining the CCEL, Krista practiced labour law with a focus on human rights and disability issues. She has also worked as a victim assistance worker in a small town. Over the years, Krista has worked with women’s centres and various non-profit community organizations serving low-income people in BC.

Marta Rogic, RSW, is currently the Manager of SAIL, and the Victim Services Program for Seniors First BC. Marta has been working in the social services field for over 10 years (settlement, anti-violence work, addictions, and crisis support). Marta is passionate about incorporating an anti-oppressive feminist practice in her work, and promoting social justice and community building efforts for older adults of diverse backgrounds. Marta speaks Spanish, Italian, and some Croatian as part of the privilege of being part of a multicultural family with diverse migration histories.


Click here to register for ATF 2019!