Speaking Out on CBC On the Island

This morning our dynamic duo from our Women’s Services department, Marlene Goley and Candace Stretch, were interviewed by Gregor Craigie (CBC ) about the services provided by The Cridge for women in abusive relationships.  They did an excellent job of identifying the issues and sharing about the variety of options available to women and their children.

You can listen to the interview by clicking here 

Obama and the Grammy Awards

OK — so not everybody loves Obama. I’m sure there will be endless discussion over whether his comments during the Grammy’s were a political maneuver or not — and what he has to gain by making such a public statement about violence against women. The debate will go on and on — but I want to say: who cares what his motives were?  The message went out — loud and clear — that violence against women and girls is never OK.  And that is a message that needs to be shouted from the rooftops by every political leader, every community leader, every person. Women and girls do not deserve to be abused under any circumstances. Nor does any person, no matter their gender, race, religion, politics, sexual preference or whatever else makes them different from you or I. We are all in this together —  let’s choose kindness!

Thanks Mr. Obama!

Click here to see Obama’s Speech


No Wrong Door

Here at The Cridge we have a “No Wrong Door” approach to services:  if we cannot help, we will support the client to find someone who can. This means having staff who are willing to go the extra mile and make sure that no one who asks for help leaves without some sort of assitance.  Here is a story about that from our Transition House for Women.

We  saw more women experience immigration challenges and threats of deportation in 2014 than ever before in one year.  It seems that the more “reforms” made to the Canadian immigration laws and processes, the more difficult it becomes for immigrant women to leave violent partners.  The public assurances that special allowances will be made for immigrant women fleeing domestic violence just don’t seem to materialize.  These women face having to   stay with their abusive husbands or face deportation because leaving the abuse means having no status.  No status means no eligibility to work legally, receive income assistance, medical benefits, or public education. 

We helped 7 women in 2014 get safe and survive this “no status” limbo.  When we have shared some of these stories of courage and survival with colleagues in the community, the response is always, “It’s a good job they found The Cridge!”  We have been working so hard to help these women survive and stay safe, we forgot that we really have been the “no wrong door” for them.  We are so grateful to be part of an organization that enables us to be on “no wrong door” auto-pilot!


Superbowl Ads

I didn’t watch the Superbowl — I find football rather boring and would rather do so many other things… like almost anything OTHER than watch football.  However, I did watch some of the Superbowl ads and as with most ads, some were typical, some were obnoxious and a couple were really good. But only one made an impact that will last — only one is worth talking about, sharing and promoting.

Please watch this — share it, talk about it and shout it from the rooftops. Because if we talk about it, maybe it will help all of us to listen better.

Social Enterprise: one perspective

Here at The Cridge, we are starting to talk about social enterprises —  “a social enterprise is a business whose primary purpose is the common good”. Within the Brain Injury Program, there have been several advances made in running a social enterprise for traumatic brain injury survivors, with the goal of giving them meaningful employment for real wages. To this end, we hope to also provide those survivors with the ability to support themselves and be contributing members of society, which also means  a great increase in their emotional and physical well being. It’s a win-win situation!

I’m guessing that the idea of social enterprise is a foreign one for many people — so over the next few weeks, I am going to post some articles and links for you to read that will educate, challenge and possibly surprise you… and hopefully get you thinking about how you can get involved with a social enterprise.


Sharing Christmas Joy through the Generations

 christmas village 2014

Christmas is time of joy and wonder for children and adults alike.  The lights, the colours and the happy celebration of the birth of a special child fill our hearts with warmth and compassion. 

This year as we prepared to welcome the season and decorate the Child Care Centre we were approached by the grandparent of one of our children.  She wondered if she could share a special gift for the children this year.  For many years her mother in-law had collected and lovingly displayed a tiny Christmas village in her very tiny living room.  Since her passing the village had been kept packed and stored and this year her daughter-in-law lovingly set-it up for our families to enjoy.

The village was set up at the children’s level with the intent that it could be an interactive display.  The children were trusted to move the tiny porcelain pieces around the display.  We would often find Santa on the roof top of a tiny house, the picket fences moved from home to home or a tiny sled in a tree.  The children were trusted with something delicate and in turn treated it with great respect without having to be reminded to “be careful”.

When Grandma returned to pack the village up again all the pieces were there and intact.  The family had been able have the gift of knowing their loved one’s passion had been shared with others.   All the children, including the great grandson of the lady who had so lovingly set up the display in her home year after year for her family, had been able to experience the opportunity to be trusted to interact successfully with something beautiful and delicate.  Grandma shared with us that her mother-in-law would be smiling down on this.   This was a special gift of joy which really celebrated the warmth of the Christmas season and the sharing of love through the generations.                


War on Women

In December of 2014, the BC Coroners Services published a report about the War on Women. This title certainly was an attention getter, but was also truly warranted. Here in BC, there is most definitely a war on women being waged — and it seems clear that the women are losing. The tragic part of this war is that it is taking place in the one place where women are supposed to be safest — their homes. Domestic violence takes many forms and ranges in severity, but it all has lasting effects on women, their children and our communities. 

“Violence against women is preventable, predictable and research confirms that the lethality for women in abusive relationships increases when women are leaving or have left abusive male partners.” (BC Coroners report — War on Women)

In the past year, The Cridge Transition House for women provided services for about 140 women, plus their children, who were leaving abusive relationships. These services include those listed in the BC Coroners Report:

  1. Provide emotional support to women dealing with the effects of trauma
  2. Provide information about the dynamics of abuse and it’s effects
  3. Provide accompaniment to appointments
  4. Help women make safety plans
  5. Assessment of risk, threat and lethality
  6. Understand women’s process of staying, leaving and returning
  7. Help to co-ordinate systemic response between police, court services, child protection
  8. Advocate with police, court services, child protection when systemic response is substandard
  9. Help women find housing – transitional or permanent
  10. Help women deal with economic challenges
  11. Help women to support their children with the effects of witnessing their mother’s abuse

If you are someone you know is struggling with violence in the home, please contact our staff and find the help needed. 250 479 3963

BC Coroners Report War on Women


Christmas, Poverty and Living in Victoria

It has been many years since I have had the privilege of celebrating Christmas in Victoria — many years of spending it in a developing country where Christmas is a day, not a season. I approached this Christmas a bit leery of being sucked into the commercialism of the season, and not wanting that to be the primary experience for my kids.  As a part of my job, I read the Times Colonist and keep abreast of what is happening in Victoria on social media — also a new experience for me. And while I am cynical about the commercialism of the season, I must admit that the overwhelming message that I received from our local media is that Victoria cares. Every day in the news are articles about people and organizations that are working hard to make Victoria a better place to live, a community that cares for its own and shows concern about the issues of homelessness and poverty. This weeks series in the TC about Hidden Poverty has been excellent — kudos to Sarah Petrescu. http://digital.timescolonist.com/epaper/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=99C9LZYP2M98

Engaging people in discussion about poverty in our city is obviously not straightforward. My perception is that the folks at the TC are endeavoring to do in a sensitive and timely manner.  But the question that remains after reading these articles is — What can we do about it?  How can the average person in Victoria make a difference that will last throughout the year, not just during this season?  How can we ensure that more low-income housing is built, that organizations like The Mustard Seed and the Transition Houses are funded and that the services needed for people with mental illness are in place? How can we as a community engage with our local, provincial and federal governments to deal with these issues in our city? Talking about it and raising awareness is so important — but if there is no action, it becomes futile. 

I’m looking for a response — how do YOU think change can come about in Victoria and what can we as Victorian’s do to make it happen?

Child Care Centre Christmas Hours

Christmas Hours

A Christmas blessing from a former client

One of our former Cridge Transition House for Women clients attended the Healthy Relationships luncheon last week, and shared a bit of prose that she wrote in gratitude. I took a few stanzas out to share with you.  A lovely Christmas blessing to us!

“The real miracle of Christmas visited me during my adjusting year 2012!
Lessons taught to me; instilled by strangers, volunteers, and especially workers of The Cridge Centre.
It was MY Christmas, after all the tribulations of many years of silent abuse.
The burdened heart found freedom, the soul replenished so that today Christmas is cherished with continuing hope!
Asking for help is the most precious gift given to me!
Thanks to the management, staff, volunteers, and unknown patrons. Through your dedication and tireless support, we are happy! Merry Christmas”