Home What We Do Neighbours, Friends & Families

Neighbours, Friends & Families

E-mail Print

Neighbours, Friends and Families is a public education campaign to raise awareness of the signs of the woman abuse so that those close to an at-risk woman or an abusive man can help.

Neighbours, Friends & Family LogoThe Neighbours, Friends and Families provincial campaign sprang from a seed of hope planted, and initially conceived, within the LCCEWA, with Changing Ways as the lead agency. With a small grant from the Ontario Victim Services Secretariat (OVSS), the committee began a local project with material from Neighbour to Neighbour, a family violence prevention initiative in San Francisco. Their mission was to work in neighbourhoods and educate people about woman abuse. They built on subsequent Domestic Violence Death Review Committee (DVDRC) reports that recommended broad-based public education for the neighbours, friends and families of women who were experiencing abuse. The groundwork was then laid for the campaign to flourish.

The fledging success was evident to many, including the Ontario Women’s Directorate (OWD), who approached the LCCEWA to translate the material into other languages. In addition, the provincial government, through the OWD, established an expert panel to examine elements of the DVDRC’s report, and to develop new materials in keeping with the Neighbours to Neighbour model.

Promoting the materials through communities, and the Ministry of Community and Social Services (MCSS), the campaign expanded through a grant to create a supporting video. It featured Sandra Schott, who was murdered by her estranged husband on October 27, 2005. It also included interviews with her family and friends, who, aware of the abuse, didn’t recognize the danger she was in or how to help. The video was intended to be used only locally, but in its moving power, has become a central feature of the campaign.

On June 22, 2006, the Neighbours, Friends and Families campaign was officially launched at Queen’s Park by the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, Sandra Pupatello. The campaign was a partnership between the Ontario government, the Expert Panel on Neighbours, Friends and Families, and the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children. The commitment to funding, announced at the launch, was part of the Liberal government’s Domestic Violence Action Plan.

The flame had been kindled. And it quickly spread through communities and the province, initiated through Coordinating Committees and individual organizations and agencies. But rather than being a remote or official campaign, it has been, and is, very personal. We’re all neighbours, friends and families, and through the power of word of mouth, the message of hope has begun to grow, one person at a time.