"Community Development" activities function in raising public awareness of sexual assault and abuse against women and children, with the end goal of working toward an end to all violence (sexual, physical, and emotional). These activities also function to educate the general public regarding sexism and gender inequality in the media, justice system, and society as a whole.
PROGRAMS & SERVICES
To accomplish this, MPSSAS works independently AND with a number of other community services, agencies, and committees that address violence against women and children, and women's inequality issues.
In Muskoka, we have, for example, collaborated with the YWCA, Muskoka Interval House, Chrysalis Shelter, and the District of Muskoka to name a few. At present, we are working with the Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team proposal for a linked network of health providers in this region.
In the District of Parry Sound, our collaborative efforts have involved work with Esprit Place Family Resource Centre, Parry Sound High School, Almaguin Highlands Secondary School, local First Nation communities, Shawanaga Healing Centre and the Parry Sound Friendship Centre. These ventures also increase public awareness of our agency programs and services.
Some of the community events and projects that MPSSAS staff have organized and implemented include: "International Women’s Day" and "National Day for Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women" (December 6th) activities; the "If You See It, Speak It" initiative for Grade 10 students in local secondary schools; "Sexual Assault Awareness Month" educational activities; "Tag Day" fundraising initiatives; and "Annual Walk to End Violence" events (in the District of Parry Sound); and, 'Women in Art", Partners Workshops, "Kawabunga" and "The Good Body" events (in Muskoka). Recent events include the "Take Back the Night" march on Oct. 18, 2019.
In the fall of 2004, MPSSAS also hosted a very successful conference - "Eliminating Violence Against Women and Children: We All Win". Over 250 participants enjoyed and learned from such guest speakers as Judy Rebick, Jane Doe, and Linda McQuaig. Since then, we have hosted or co-facilitated numerous training events, most recently partnering with the North Muskoka Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic and the Muskoka Community Foundation to present clinical training on working with male survivors, for area clinicians.
Since 2009, our agency has organized and implemented "Moving Forward: From Survivor to Thriver" conferences for women survivors who are past or presently associated with our agency. The day long conferences now run in May and October yearly, with 50 women coming together for a keynote speech by a survivor, and workshops on wellness, healing from trauma and advocacy regarding violence against women.
In addition, MPSSAS is a committee member of Domestic Abuse Review Team (D.A.R.T.) in Muskoka and the Violence Against Women Coordinating Committee (VAWCC) in Parry Sound. These committees review individual cases of domestic abuse in their respective areas, along with other committee members (e.g., local women's shelters, Crown Attorney's office, Victim/Witness Assistance Program, Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services, O.P.P., Children's Aid Society, Probation and Parole, area First Nations), in order to develop a coordinated and effective community service response to this issue. The committees also serve as the forum for the development of domestic abuse policies and procedures, protocols to guide those involved in intervention, and public education efforts.
Our organization has also been a key player in the ongoing development of the "Building a Bigger Wave" provincial Network for "Violence-Against-Women" Coordinating Committees in Ontario.
Furthermore, MPSSAS develops pamphlets and other literature, and maintains links with various media sources (e.g., newspaper, radio, and television), to establish a visible profile in the community for the purpose of public education.
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