A Circle of Safety is a trauma-informed, survivor-centered, collaborative approach to safety planning that brings together a survivor, service providers, and informal support networks to generate creative, holistic solutions for safety. Originally developed by Justice Options for Women in Prince Edward Island, Circles of Safety have had a significant positive impact on the lives of women who have participated.

Women’s Shelters Canada is currently working with Justice Options for Women, Piwapan Women’s Centre (La Ronge, SK), Peace River Regional Women’s Shelter (Peace River, AB), and Help and Hope for Families (Watson Lake, YT), to test, adapt, and implement Circles of Safety in rural, remote, Northern, and Indigenous communities.

In Canada, women living in rural, remote, Northern, and Indigenous communities continue to experience higher rates of violence than their urban and non-Indigenous counterparts, with far fewer resources available to them. WSC and its partners hope that the Circles of Safety process can help create increased safety for women facing violence in these communities.

This four-year project begins with training for shelter staff from the participating communities. Once trained in the PEI model, shelter staff will adapt the Circles of Safety practice to the unique realities of their community, pilot the practice in each location, and scale up delivery in later years. Throughout, shelter staff will have access to ongoing coaching, learning, and peer support.

Check out the video below to hear more about Circles of Safety and to meet some of the participants: