Research has shown that in most cases of lethal domestic violence in Ontario, a neighbour, friend, or family member knew there was a problem beforehand, but did not know how to help.
Research led to the development of Neighbours, Friends and Families (NFF) – an Ontario-wide campaign to raise awareness about the signs of woman abuse and promote bystander intervention.
In addition to the NFF Campaign, three specialized NFF campaigns have been developed for specific communities within Ontario. These specialized campaigns are:
- Kanawayhitowin, a campaign within Aboriginal communities in Ontario
- Voisin-Es, Ami-Es et Familles, a campaign within the Francophone community in Ontario
- This campaign: Immigrant and Refugee Communities – Neighbours, Friends and Families (IRCNFF) – a campaign within immigrant and refugee communities in Ontario
The goal of the Immigrant and Refugee Communities - Neighbours, Friends and Families (IRCNFF) Campaign is to raise awareness about the warning signs of woman abuse and promote bystander intervention within immigrant and refugee communities across Ontario. IRCNFF also aims to raise awareness about the unique barriers newcomer women face when they are seeking support for abuse, and advocate for the elimination of those barriers.
History of IRCNFF
The IRCNFF Campaign has been growing across Ontario since it was launched in 2012.
Thanks to tireless effort, visioning and community engagement by staff, volunteers and community members, 9 community agencies carried out IRCNFF Campaign work within immigrant and refugee communities from 2012-2016. These projects were as follows:
- COSTI Immigrant Services delivered Campaign material to English Language Class instructors and students
- St. Stephen’s Community House recruited students from English Language Classes to develop a photo-based novel to encourage fellow students and newcomers to oppose woman abuse.
- Newcomer Women’s Services Toronto promoted the Campaign in South Asian communities in the GTA, York and Durham region.
- Social Services Network York Region translated existing Campaign materials into Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Gujarati and hosted community events and a provincial conference to promote the Campaign
- Family Services Toronto partnered with Somali organizations to promote the Campaign in Somali communities in the GTA, Hamilton, and, Kitchener-Waterloo
- Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County promoted the Campaign to immigrant and refugee communities in the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent region
- Rexdale Women’s Centre engaged front-line workers in settlement, legal, health and social services sectors to promote the Campaign to immigrants and refugees in Windsor, Peel Region, Toronto, Ottawa and Thunder Bay
- Thunder Bay Multicultural Association promoted the Campaign to immigrant and refugee communities in northern Ontario
- Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre promoted the Campaign through the provincial network of Community Health Centres
The Role of OCASI in the IRCNFF Campaign
OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants has been working violence against women prevention for the past 14 years.
From 2012-2016, OCASI was funded to support the provincial coordination of IRCNFF Campaign activities, develop this website, and coordinate online information in collaboration with community partners. This project benefitted settlement sector practitioners and communities of interest.
From 2016-2019, OCASI will sustain IRCNFF Campaign’s momentum and expand its reach by taking a lead role in recruiting and training Peer Champions across Ontario. These Peer Champions will be trained in violence against women prevention and hold events in their communities.
The IRCNFF Campaign Coordinator at OCASI will also create new campaign resources in collaboration with immigrant and refugee communities across Ontario. This grassroots strategy will dispel harmful stereotypes and spark action on woman abuse.