“Every door is the right door,” is the mantra of this program, which aims to improve the service response for immigrant women who are victims of domestic and intimate partner violence (D/IPV).
This three-year project, which ran from 2015-2018, was built on the belief that no woman should have to navigate an unfamiliar system when seeking support. With a goal of ensuring timely access to information and services through a coordinated community response model, Overcoming Barriers’ stakeholders have been diverse. It has relied on partnerships, coordination and resource-sharing between provincial government departments, D/IPV support service providers and immigrant-serving and community organizations.
The participation of immigrant women in Overcoming Barriers was key. Their perspectives provided oversight and strategic direction and a lens through which all aspects of the project were viewed.
Overcoming Barriers aimed to build bridges between the women and D/IPV and immigrant service providers. Along with an increased understanding of D/IPV among immigrants and newcomers, public service providers learned about the complexities, increased risk and barriers to safety immigrant women in violent relationships face. Findings continue to be integrated into provincial strategies and training around D/IPV experienced by newcomer women.
Along with improved services, Overcoming Barriers aimed to connect women, to allow them to share their stories about D/IPV for their own sakes, and to help develop culturally sensitive interventions.
The project culminated with a Learning Symposium in September 2019. Nearly 100 participants from across the province discussed strategies to best serve newcomer, non-status and immigrant women in New Brunswick. The project’s resulting report, Provincial Reference Guide on Working with Immigration Women Experiencing D/IPV, enumerates the learnings from this work.