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In 1995 OAITH began tracking through media reports, women and their children who’ve been murdered by their partner, previous partner, or another family member, also known as Femicide. Each year OAITH releases a list of names as reported on in the media to remember and bring attention to the issue of violence against women. On December 6th, the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, communities across Ontario remember the 14 women killed at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1989 followed by the names of the women killed each year in Ontario.
For the past several years OAITH has been funded to provide training and resources to all VAW shelters across Ontario through the Ontario Women’s Directorate. As our capacity to develop curriculum and the delivery of training has grown, our network of learners has gone beyond those working in first stage emergency shelters in Ontario. Our learners include students, primarily in social work and social service worker programs, whose programs don’t offer specific focus on issues relating to violence against women support work. In addition, there are people working in family and counselling services, Sexual Assault Centers, health services, mental health and addictions, services for low-income and homeless people, child and youth workers, Victim Services, immigration and settlement services, among others.
For several years, OAITH has maintained a training portal with courses that respond to the needs of VAW workers. At the end of 2015, we launched a new portal using a Learning Management System that has improved our capacity to structure course materials around learner needs and enhance accessibility.
The courses and content cover a range of key areas that are relevant to VAW support workers and those who work in organizations that provide services in connection with VAW organizations.
OAITH maintains an online library with hundreds of resources about VAW issues, practice tools, policies, government reports and advocacy documents. To access our online library click here.
Every year in conjunction with our AGM, OAITH creates a full-day in-person training and education event to all shelter workers in the province, regardless of membership. The event varies from year to year based on identified training needs and emerging topics. Using a mix of formats – including keynote speakers, workshops, and panels – the Training Day provides VAW workers with in-depth understanding of important issues and applications of new information in their VAW practice. The event also gives workers from around the province the opportunity to interact with each other and build their networks for on-going learning and support.
Our commitment to on-going learning opportunities for VAW support workers means we seek out opportunities to partner with other organizations to bring new training initiatives to life. For example, in 2016 we ran a webinar series with experts in different subject areas that responded to requests for learning identified by the shelter community. We will continue to find innovative ways to bring content that supports those who work with women who have experienced violence in their efforts to be the best they can be.