24/7 provincial toll-free crisis line 18779770007

  • Manitoba Association of Women's Shelters

MAWS provides information only. If you are in danger call 911. If you or someone you know is being abused, call the confidential 24/7 provincial toll-free crisis & support line at: 1-877-977-0007

Values & Guiding Principles

The Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters (MAWS) carries out its work on the original lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Assiniboine, Dakota and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. We respect the Treaties that were made on these territories, we acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past and present, and we dedicate ourselves to moving forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.


Principles of Harm Reduction
“Harm reduction posits that people live their lives on a continuum and that it is necessary to recognize the complexity of challenging situations people navigate” (Cooper, Driedger & Lavoie, 2018, pp 137)

Values + Beliefs that underpin Harm Reduction:
Strengths-Based: Focusing on strengths first and foremost, while acknowledging that there are areas of improvement.
Empowerment: Affirming and supporting those who experience violence where they are at.
Dignity and Compassion: Allowing those who experience violence to feel that their needs are met without judgment.

Principles of Trauma-Informed Practice
A trauma-informed approach asserts that individuals will have different responses to traumatic events. Trauma-informed practice takes into account the neurobiological response to trauma that manifests in behaviours that some might see as negative coping mechanisms (Champine, Robey, 2018).

Values + Beliefs that underpin Trauma-Informed Practice:
Safety: Includes cultural safety and trauma safety.
Trust: Developing relationships that foster trust.
Collaboration: The belief that those who experience violence are experts in their own lives.
Empowerment: Affirming where those who experience violence are at, and empowering them to make decisions for their own lives.

Principles of Intersectional Feminist Practice
“Intersectional feminist theory emerged to make the unique experiences and vulnerabilities of marginalized women more visible (Crenshaw, 1991). Intersectional approaches underscore the ways in which social categories, including but not limited to race, class, ability, gender, and sexuality, interact to shape IPV experiences (Potter 2013; Sokoloff and Dupont 2005). As a result, individuals contending with multiple oppressions encounter challenges that may or may not be adequately addressed with mainstream IPV services.” (Kulkarni, 2019).

Values + Beliefs that underpin Intersectional Feminism:
Ensure services meet the unique needs of those who experience violence are reflective of their lived experience.
Acknowledge the multiple identities of service users beyond that of “victim.”
That the work of MAWS is to challenge patriarchal structures and misogyny.

Principles of Decolonization
Acknowledging the legacy of settler-colonial policies such as residential schools and the sixties scoop on the Indigenous communities, families and individuals to this day. As well, understanding that the current systems, policies and structures uphold settler colonialism and continue to perpetuate violence against Indigenous peoples.

Values + Beliefs that underpin Decolonized practice

Acknowledge that:
The experiences of those who experience violence are framed by settler colonialism and historical trauma.
The result of settler colonialist policies is violence against Indigenous women, girls and members of the 2SLGBTQQIA community.
That the work of shelters and MAWS is to be actively anti-racist.