In May 2019, Women’s Shelters Canada held a Community of Practice (CoP) on navigating immigration systems and access to services with immigrant and refugee survivors of violence against women. This CoP brought together 17 shelter workers from nine different provinces and territories for 1.5 days of discussion and learning.

Shelter staff who work with immigrant, migrant, and refugee women often provide support to women as they interact with immigration authorities, submit various types of immigration applications, and attempt to access social services. These are complex processes, and shelter staff may not always feel that they have the expertise or resources to navigate them effectively.

To address this challenge, WSC brought together shelter staff who work with migrant, immigrant, and refugee survivors so that they could share knowledge and promising practices, build relationships with other practitioners, learn from experts, and generate a path forward.

Based on these discussions, the CoP produced:

  • A list of promising practices for shelters that work with immigrant, refugee, and migrant survivors
  • A list of resources that shelter staff may find helpful as they support immigrant, refugee, and migrant survivors
  • Calls to action for all levels of government, aimed at strengthening safety for refugee, migrant, and immigrant survivors of violence

CoP participants are also continuing to share and work together through regular conference calls.

* All photos from Unsplash