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  • 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

“You are not alone” – Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters announces multi-lingual awareness campaign to support newcomer women and families experiencing gender-based violence.

November 16, 2021— Today, the Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters (MAWS) is launching a multi-lingual public awareness campaign to support immigrant, newcomer and refugee women and families experiencing gender-based violence (GBV). The campaign’s message is “You Are Not Alone,” and features videos in five languages – Arabic, Punjabi, Mandarin, Persian and English – along with the Manitoba 24/7 toll-free Crisis and Support Line and MAWS website information. The campaign also includes an English-language poster for public spaces and workplaces throughout the province. View the videos here. 

Women of cultural and linguistic diversity often face challenges like language or cultural barriers, lack of knowledge of support services, financial constraints, and uncertain immigration status, all of which can make them uniquely vulnerable to abuse. These, in addition to the general stigma in society around gender-based and family violence, can make newcomer and refugee women less likely to know that help is available, as well as where to seek it out.

Manitoba shelters are seeing more women and families from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds seek support and refuge from violence. Through the multilingual videos and poster, the MAWS campaign aims to connect these survivors with support programs, including the confidential Crisis and Support Line (1-877-977-0007).

The Hon. Cathy Cox, Minister responsible for Status of Women, said “All Manitobans deserve to live without fear for their safety. This multi-lingual public awareness campaign will serve to strengthen and promote the services that already exist to individuals and families impacted by domestic violence. Our government is committed to supporting newcomers or refugees who are experiencing trauma or abuse, including survivors of gender-based violence who otherwise often slip through the cracks and do not receive the services they need.”

Deena Brock, Provincial Coordinator, Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters, says, “The pandemic has increased the risks and severity of gender-based violence, particularly for those already facing barriers that would make them vulnerable to abuse. Newcomer and refugee women and families often experience a greater sense of isolation due to language barriers, fear of losing custody of their children due to an uncertain immigration status, dependence on a family member who may be the primary sponsor for their immigration, and so on. We hope that these multilingual videos reach Mandarin, Punjabi, Persian and Arabic language speakers across Manitoba who may be experiencing violence, and that they know that help is always available.”

MAWS would like to thank the BC Society of Transition Houses (BCSTH), who created the original “You Are Not Alone” Campaign for newcomer women, and shared their resources with MAWS. Additionally, advertising for the MAWS campaign was made possible through collaboration with the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) and funds provided by PrairieAction Foundation.

Click here to view the English language poster for the campaign.

Quick Facts and Links:

• Manitoba Toll-Free 24/7 Crisis and Support Line: 1-877-977-0007
• About MAWS: The Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters (MAWS) is dedicated to providing a unified voice for women, children and all those who are affected by violence and abuse. In the mid-1980s, women’s shelters in Manitoba began to work together to provide support to the sector’s frontline professionals, reduce the isolation of shelter directors, and stop the competition between shelters for funding dollars. The organization evolved and was incorporated in 1991 as the Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters Inc. Membership includes ten provincially funded women’s shelters, as well as Associate members working on the area of family violence. Visit the MAWS website here: https://maws.mb.ca/
• PrairieAction Foundation: For more than 20 years, the Prairieaction Foundation has been working to change the story of violence and abuse in the Canadian prairies. Through cooperative relationships and collegial partnerships, we’ve engaged in healthy debate and respectful controversy. We have funded research that is responsive to diverse community needs, seeking results in culturally-appropriate solutions, and promoting change. We have embraced open communication with integrity and accountability. Visit the PrairieAction Foundation website here: https://prairieaction.ca/

For media enquiries, please contact:

Amrita Chavan
Communications Specialist, Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters (MAWS)

Deena Brock
Provincial Coordinator, Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters (MAWS)