History of the organization

Founding of the Shield

The Shield of Athena was founded in 1991 to provide the Greek community, and particularly women, with information through a family and public awareness campaign aimed at the community and victims, in their language of origin. This successful approach demonstrated its potential for other communities.

The Shield's Services

The Shield began to offer free, professional, specialized services of intervention, support, referral, prevention and accompaniment to women and children victims of family violence, particularly those coming from the ethnic and Anglophone communities. It now provides these services in 16 languages in two offices in Montreal and Laval as well as through its shelter.

 Violence Hurts Us All Public Service Announcement (PSA)

In 1997, in partnership with the federal government through its National Strategy against Family Violence and the Montreal-area ethnic media, the Shield initiated its Ethnic Media Community Outreach Program. The Shield co-produced television and radio shows, contributed articles in the ethnic media on the issue and, in 2002, co-produced an award winning public service announcement (PSA), “Violence hurts us all,” with Rogers CFMT, Canada’s largest multilingual television station. The PSA was broadcast in 14 languages (Arabic, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Farsi, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Urdu, Tamil, English and French) and distributed to 30 ethnic broadcasters and specialty channels across Canada.

Family Violence in Ethnic Communities

Between 1997 and 2002, the Shield produced its first series of audio-visual tools in 15 languages on various aspects of family violence that responded to specific requests from ethnic communities. The Shield of Athena continues to offer culturally sensitive public awareness sessions on family violence to many communities in their language of origin as well as to social insertion and other community groups always using the audio-visual tools it has developed. We help communities analyze their needs and break through cultural & linguistic barriers so as to address violence in a non-threatening way.

Information on Police Procedures

In 2003, the Shield launched a second series of audio-visual tools in collaboration with the Montreal Police Service (SPVM) that outlines police procedure and existing resources available to women victims of conjugal violence, which is offered in 14 languages. The Shield signed a formal agreement with the SPVM to promote the use of these information tools by the SPVM in its dealings with ethnic communities. Click here to see the demo of the video "Police Procedure & Resources".

Athena's House: a Safe Place to Stay

In 2004, the Shield of Athena opened an emergency shelter: Athena’s House, where women and their children victims of conjugal and family violence can stay from one day to two months. The shelter provides free, culturally adapted intervention services in many languages as well as all the necessities in a comforting and empowering environment.

Multilingual Sexual Assault PSA

In November 2007, the Shield of Athena and CJNT Montreal launched a second PSA, on sexual assault, in 15 languages. Since 2007, the Shield has begun offering new services such as Multilingual Sexual Assault Referral and Help Lines offering information about the existing resources in Montreal and Laval. Callers can also call and leave a message and someone who speaks their language will call them back. 

Public Awareness Campaign on Sexual Violence

In September 2009, the Shield of Athena launched a vast public awareness campaign on sexual violence entitled "Do you have a secret?". In addition to the PSA and the multilingual sexual assault referral and help lines mentioned above, this campaign included a booklet published in 15 languages and in Braille, a newspaper article translated into 14 languages and printed in several community newspapers, radio and television interviews, etc.