She Is Your Neighbour Podcast
Snapshot View of Practice
The She Is Your Neighbour podcast by Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region focuses on increasing awareness and education about domestic violence. The podcast takes a deep dive into domestic violence with real and raw stories from survivors that explore the realities and complexities of domestic violence. The podcast comes with a photo series, promotional campaign, and social media series. There is also a podcast club, community group, and shop
Name of Shelter
Type of Shelter
What is She Is Your Neighbour Podcast
The project started as a blog because it was the easiest way for the shelter to interview people and share their stories. They profiled people they knew who had experienced violence such as a donor, community member, and former client who is now in a safe situation. One of the team members had a background in journalism and radio; since the management team was open to trying creative and new ways of expanding their outreach and awareness service, they decided to try a podcast. They felt this would be a more authentic way of telling survivors’ stories because they could tell it in their own voices rather than having it written by a staff member. The podcast started small with in-person interviews and a simple microphone and received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community. Once it gained popularity, people were interested in sponsoring it, and it eventually grew into a larger project.
How does the program work
The podcast was started in 2020. The first two seasons had 10 episodes each, which were around 40 minutes long. The next seasons have 6 episodes in each season. Each season takes a few months of work and has a theme.
The team starts by identifying a theme and potential guests. They do background research to frame the questions for each guest and invite the guests for a pre-interview. The safety of guests is paramount. They ensure guests are living free from violence and also address any concerns about the podcast and campaign.
The interviews are stored online through Riverside FM. Once the interviews are complete, the team edits them and prepares the guest bios and promotional copy. The podcasts are distributed through Podbean. The early seasons of the podcast were all done in-house. Now, they work with an outside editor.
The team works with a local photographer for the campaign and a graphic designer for the artwork. The team markets the podcast using the photos at bus stops with impactful quotes, social media and radio campaigns, appearing on local talk shows, and ensuring the launch has a solid media presence. The bus stop ads and social media ads are paid through sponsorships.
Podcast guests are usually well-known community members. The team keeps a lookout on news and TV for people who have shared their experience of abuse, and also puts out open calls on their social media channels.
The podcast has an intersectional lens highlighting that violence can look different for different people, but can also happen to anyone. For example, they hosted the Mayor of Waterloo, a local firefighter, and celebrated journalist Anna Maria Tremonti. Having such prominent guests piques interest in domestic violence within the community.
What is the impact of this program
The podcast, along with the photography component, is a unique and innovative way of spreading awareness about domestic violence within and outside of the community. The community has started engaging more with domestic violence and recognizing the shelter’s work as important. The shelter has developed close relationships with the podcast guests, making them partners in the project. The podcast has been incredibly well-received. There have been over 10,000 downloads so far, with listeners and community members leaving positive reviews online and sending encouraging comments to the guests. The project has attracted corporate funders who have also used the podcast to raise awareness of domestic violence with their employees. It has even been nominated for and received awards for its marketing strategies and innovation.
Survivors have also reached out to us saying that if they heard this podcast earlier in their journey, they would have been more comfortable talking about it or it would have helped them learn about domestic violence and see the signs sooner.”
Challenges in Implementing
- Ensuring the safety and comfort of the guests can be challenging, especially when taking their photos in public spaces. Even though guests are now living free from violence, the pictures are taken outside without revealing their location.
- It takes time to develop and launch a project like this. The shelter now realizes they need 5-6 months to prepare each season.
Tips for those who wish to do something similar
- Plan for at least six months to think and prepare.
- Start with something small, like a blog or social media series.
- Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region is a relatively large shelter with more resources and staff. Awareness and education around domestic violence are also part of their strategic plan, meaning they could justify the time to develop this.