survive – strive – thrive
Bridges for Women expands BC wide
ne of the hidden effects of domestic violence is the impact on survivors’ ability to work. Established in 1988 as an employment training program for women with a history of trauma and abuse, Bridges for Women exists to support survivors of violence and trauma to overcome challenges, set goals and thrive in the workforce. They have served self-identified women in Victoria for more than 30 years and recently expanded to offer online programs across B.C. “Our Founding Mothers saw that, too often, women were forced to make impossible choices because they didn’t have economic security,” explains interim Executive Director Patricia Rawson. “They saw women return to abusive partners for financial reasons – they couldn’t afford to take care of themselves and their children on their own.” The Bridges Employment Program was the first in Canada to recognize the direct impact of trauma on employability. The flagship program is a six-month, part-time group where women learn about the impacts of trauma, develop coping strategies and begin to build futures for themselves. Participants learn skills to help thrive in the workplace, and receive clinical counselling and other supports. Trauma impacts survivors’ ability to work in a variety of ways. According to the Canadian Labour Congress, more than 80 per cent of people who experience domestic violence report that their job performance was negatively affected. Trauma can affect survivors’ ability to concentrate, maintain healthy boundaries, manage stress, or resolve conflicts, which can lead to job loss or stalled careers.
The online programs have proven to be The Bridges’ program provides women so successful that Bridges for Women has with practical skills to deal with the expanded availability to serve the everyday challenges of seeking and maintaining work, helping whole province. them find long-term stability Now, any self-identified Improving and financial security. woman impacted by doAccording to Rawson, of economic security mestic or sexual violence Bridges graduates who start can enroll in the online through job jobs or higher education Bridges to Employment programs programs, 94 per cent are program. Learn more at still employed or enrolled www.bridgesforwomen.ca/ after three months. Rawson says apply/ this shows that graduates are entering Currently, all programs are being the workforce with the skills they need to delivered online, with Bridges providing thrive. loaner laptops and other supports to “The women we serve are remarkably reduce barriers. resilient,” Rawson explains. “Despite the The team is looking forward to re-introchallenges of connecting online over the ducing in-person programs in the Capital past year, they have shown up for themRegional District soon. Learn more at www.bridgesforwomen.ca selves and each other.”
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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCE GUIDE
June 21, 2021