The Shield at a glance

Established in 1991, The Shield of Athena Family Services has developed into a network of services that includes Montreal and Laval centres, a shelter, and a community outreach program. It is a community organization that provides support and intervention services to women and children victims of family violence, primarily those coming from ethnocultural communities. The Shield is also dedicated to increasing public awareness about family violence.


Languages

The approach used in its services and community outreach is one that is culturally and linguistically attuned to the needs of ethnic communities. Services are presently available in 16 languages: Arabic, Armenian, Creole, English, French, Greek, Hindi, Iranian, Italian, Polish, Punjabi, Rumanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Urdu. The Shield’s main intervention pamphlet entitled Violence Hurts Us All! is available in 13 languages.


The Shield’s external services to victims

At the Montreal and Laval centres, the Shield offers multilingual services such as consultations, crisis intervention, accompaniments for advocacy or support during court cases, referrals and legal information to women victims of conjugal or family violence and their children. Information sessions on legal issues, the effects of violence on children and parenting are provided. Support groups are also available for women victims of conjugal and/or sexual violence as well as for children and teens exposed to violence.


Some statistics related to external services

 

2007-2008

2008-2009

% change

# of phone calls received

24,653

26,081

+6%

# of new and returning clients

372

425

+14%

# of new and returning long-term clients

110

115

+4.5%

 

Client demographics: language

% new clients who come from ethnocultural communities (not French-Canadian or Anglo-Canadian)

93%

91%

-2%

% of long-term clients needing intervention in a language other than English of French

33%

33%

----

% new clients whose preferred language of communication is English

49%

66%

+17%

% new clients whose preferred language of communication is French

24%

19%

-5%

% new clients whose preferred language of communication is neither English nor French

27%

15%

-12%

Client demographics: age      

 

% clients aged 20-39

44%

47%

+3%

% clients aged 40-59

43%

44%

+1%

Client demographics: income

%  new clients whose income is below $30,000/yr

63%

71%

+8%

% new clients whose income is above $30,000

37%

29%

-8%

Client demographics: marital / family status

% new clients who are single moms

58%

41%

-17%

Client referral sources

% new clients referred by other social services

43%

48%

+5%

% new clients who have come to the Shield through word of mouth or through community outreach activities (information sessions, PSAs, media interviews, etc.)

57%

44%

-13%

% new clients who have been referred by Athena’s House

8%

8%

----


The Shield’s emergency shelter, Athena’s House

In 2004, the Shield opened Athena’s House, a shelter for women victims of violence and their children. Athena’s Houseis a safe and confidential home where women in crisis and their children can stay up to 2 months. Residents receive individual services, workshops and information sessions. Children also receive information sessions and activities that respond to their specific needs.   


Some statistics related to Athena’s House

 

 

2007-2008

2008-2009

% change

# of women housed

76

77

+1%

# of children housed

44

44

  0

Client demographics

% women who are not Canadian citizens

28%

42%

+14%

% new clients who come from ethnocultural communities (not French-Canadian or Anglo-Canadian)

59%

57%

-2%

%  women with severe difficulty communicating in either English or French

30%

23%

-7%

%  women with college degrees or higher

20%

34%

+14%

Client referral sources

%  women referred by S.O.S. Violence conjugale

39%

31%

-8%

% women referred by other  social services,  youth protection or other shelters

21%

26%

+5%

% women been referred by the police

14%

16%

+2%

% women referred by community resources /organizations

18%

25%

+7%

%  women who came on their own

8%

2%

-6%

% of women receiving social assistance before arriving at the shelter

29%

38%

+9%


The Shield’s community outreach program

The Shield’s community outreach program reaches thousands of people annually through information sessions in communities and the broadcast of multilingual PSAs and programs provided through media collaborators such as CJNT Montreal, Global Montreal, OMNI Television, CFMB Radio and Radio Centre-Ville. Ethnic communities receive information in their language of origin regarding family violence, the laws and the resources for victims of abuse. The use of communities’ mother tongue facilitates the transmission of this vital information and enhances their integration in Quebec society.

Since 1991, the Shield has developed 66 multilingual videos that have been broadcast in the ethnic media, 2 PSAs, one on conjugal violence and the other on sexual violence, that have been broadcast in 14 and 15 languages respectively as well as brochures and pamphlets available in numerous languages. 

The Shield of Athena’s newest public awareness campaign called “Do you have a secret?” focuses on sexual violence. Several tools were developed to help victims break their silence and encourage communities to support them: a PSA in 15 languages, a booklet in 15 languages and a multilingual referral line in 12 languages for Montreal and 13 languages for Laval.


Some statistics related to the community outreach program

 

 

2007-2008

2008-2009

# of community information sessions given

8

15

# of people attending

157

439