Dec. 21, 2015

Reflecting on our anti-violence work by Laurie Alphonse

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Traditionally, the holidays are a time of great reflection. As I reflect on work with DAWN-RAFH Canada that started with the In Focus Project in 2012 and now will continue with the Legislation, Policy and Service initiative, I am struck by the progression of the work in the recognition that violence and abuse can and does go beyond the scope of intimate partner violence.

The truth is that the experience of women with disabilities when discussing violence is still not fully understood by the VAW sector and government partners. The work accomplished with InFocus has led to a deeper understanding that more needs to be done in this area. It also led to DAWN-RAFH Canada being recognized as subject matter experts in issues relating to the support of women with disabilities. I am delighted to have played a small part in that even though I am reluctant to take on the role of “expert.”

What we learnt through InFocus leads us straight into the work of Legislation, Policy and Service. This new initiative will shine a light on what more needs to be accomplished by looking at current community response frameworks and identifying gaps to be addressed so women with disabilities will be better served in their communities.

I’m okay with being labeled an “expert” if it means bringing understanding of the issues faced by women with disabilities. This gives me optimism.

Yes, I hear the question. How can you be optimistic about violence? I’m optimistic about the possibilities for the inclusion of women with disabilities in their communities, ending isolation, providing hope and giving way to the positives that the eradication of violence means for women with disabilities.

Laurie Alphonse is the Ontario Coordinator for DAWN-RAFH Canada’s Legislation, Policy and Service initiative.  She is a Professor of Continuing Education at Algonquin College in Ottawa and the owner of Access Infinity Management. She can be reached through via Linked In, ‪or follow her on Twitter @LaurieAlphonse.