MNO Victim Services Program
Members of the WSMNO and MNO staff with their healing blankets at the MNO Victim Services
training. (left to right) Back row: Pearl Gabona, Kim Powley, Bridget Brown, Marilyn Hew, Susan Van
der Rassel, Kelly Camacho, Joanne Hamelin; Front row: Barbaranne Wright, Clair Kearns, MNO
Vice-Chair Sharon McBride, Karen Derocher, Jennifer Barr and Marsha Depotier.
In response to the need of Métis specific services, The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) has recently added a new program to its repertoire, Victim Services. The new program’s goal is to expand the range and variety of culturally relevant victim services available to Métis women and children in Ontario.
Based on consultations, the program is a support system to be integrated with main stream victim services programs in order to help understanding of who Métis people are and the underlying issues and histories that surround them.
The new program is founded on 10 principles: the human right to safety, gender equality, cultural responses, personal accountability, integrated approach, coordinated response, voices of women, prevention, evaluation and accountability.
During the week of March 26-28 the Women’s Secretariat of the Métis Nation of Ontario (WSMNO) took part in the first rounds of training for the new Victim Services program.
“We are honoured the WSMNO has been able to provide ongoing input into the development of the MNO Victim Services program,” said MNO Vice-Chair and WSMNO Spokesperson Sharon McBride. “We look forward to contributing further and prioritizing direction in addressing violence against Métis women provincially.”
The training began with a sharing circle where the women voiced their stories and reasons for being part of the WSMNO and their interests in the MNO Victim Services training.
MNO Victim Services Coordinator Marsha Depotier shared a beautiful “Strong Women Song” with the group. The group closed their eyes and sang along quietly thinking of all the women in the world who are or have been victims of abuse.
Tie blanket making activity
Following this was an overview on what victimization and domestic abuse are; the origins of violence in Métis communities and practices to foster Métis cultural strength and understanding; victim services program staff roles and how to access consultation and support; signs of abuse, how to report abuse or potential harm; safety planning and healing.
An interactive healing exercise was the highlight of the training. The group took part in tie blanket making where they wrote words of strengths and healing on the insides of the blankets. The blankets are to symbolize the healing process by wrapping strength, support and comfort around a victim.