How Scott Mission walks with those escaping violence.
Coming in for her Grocery appointment, she quietly asks for the name of one of our staff. When the counsellor arrives, she whispers with tears in her eyes, “I heard you could help.” The counsellor continues their conversation in her native language. This is a small mercy as she shares her deepest secret: she isn’t safe at home; she needs help.
This is a familiar story for many who come to Scott Mission for help. Over the years, Scott staff have helped many neighbours who are trapped in domestic violence, or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), as it is also known. IPV encompasses multiple forms of abuse caused by an intimate partner, which can include physical, emotional, sexual, and economic abuse. The scale of the problem can be staggering; four in ten women have experienced IPV in their lifetime.1 Additionally, women who leave situations of IPV are particularly vulnerable to poverty; 52% of all lone-parent households led by women live in poverty.2
Scott Mission is uniquely positioned to help those struggling with IPV because we provide practical services which meet immediate physical needs, such as our hot meal program, food bank, and clothing bank, but we also provide much-needed psychological and spiritual support through our counselling program. Our counselling program has helped people recognize the source of their pain and walked with them through the process. Making the difficult decision to leave an abusive relationship is just the beginning of a long journey. Challenges at every step require support for the long term; Scott Mission workers are committed to walking this journey over years
A key tactic of IPV is isolation: separating a spouse from friends, family, and other community as a means of control over their life, which is why it is particularly prevalent amongst new immigrants and refugees. “They moved outside the city, she didn’t speak the language, and had no access to transportation or finances. She travelled for hours to come back to us to ask for help,” recounted one of Scott Mission’s counsellors as she told us about a client she’ll never forget.
“Today, she’s learning English and wants to study social work so she can be a counsellor.” After that first dramatic day, our staff walked her though her fears about her refugee status and her legal pathway. They stayed connected as she lived in a shelter for 9 months. After she got her own apartment, they provided practical supports: food, clothing, household goods. Today, they get to hear her joyfully planning her future.
Walking the journey to freedom from abusive relationships is not always straightforward. Counselling is needed to help restore self-worth and esteem. Journeys are long and don’t always follow a prescribed pathway. Setbacks are plentiful and can have heart-breaking consequences. No matter the circumstances, Scott Mission’s staff are patient, showing love and care in times of difficulty and joy.
So, what can you do to help?
1. Raise awareness: November is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, so take some time to talk to those around you about the importance of identifying and supporting those suffering from IPV.
2. Identify those who need help: If you suspect a friend or neighbour is experiencing IPV, have a private conversation to offer support. Let them control the conversation but let them know you are here to help. Find organizations, like Scott Mission, in your area who are able to help and provide this information when asked: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/stop-family-violence/services.html. If you suspect child abuse, speak to child protection services or the police.
3. Pray: Pray with us that God will continue to rescue people experiencing IPV.
4. Support Scott Mission’s Efforts: Scott Mission continues to stand with those struggling in IPV situations. Our multi-language services, including counselling, help reach people of all backgrounds and provide a safe, loving environment for those who are struggling
Your donation today will support our counselling program and ensure a warm welcome for all seeking help. To donate, please visit our website here: www.scottmission.com/donate.