Webinar event date: 
sep 27, 2022 2:00 pm EDT
Webinar Presenters: 

Leslie Varley, an urban Nisga’a woman has roots in matrilocal coastal fishing communities of the Northwest coast. In her social justice work she links arms with likeminded leaders committed to advancing necessary social change. She heads up the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, an umbrella organization advocating for services and supports for the 25 Indigenous services centres throughout BC.  Leslie brings an ambitious and determined decolonizing anti-racist focus to her volunteer community work. Her favourite places are the inlets coves and bays on the southwest Pacific coast. Her education includes a Master’s in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.

Summer Rain. Summer Rain’s traditional Haida name is Xuuj dagwiitaa jaad, which means “Strong grizzly bear woman.” She is currently the manager of direct services and Indigenous women’s programs at Battered Women’s Support Services. She is also the co-chair of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre board of directors.

Rain has spent the last 18 years on the frontlines in the anti-violence movement. She is an active member of the DTES community. Her passion and work revolves around advocating for and raising awareness on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and gender diverse people, responding to sexual assault/gender based violence, and challenging, holding to account and exposing the flaws within the institutional settings of child welfare, policing and the court system. Rain is an outspoken and passionate advocate who has committed her work to demanding not only justice but change.

Kirstin Scansen-Isbister is a research and policy analyst with BWSS. She is a Woods Cree woman, and a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band in northern Saskatchewan. She has a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and political science from the University of British Columbia and a Master of Arts in Indigenous governance from the University of Victoria. Kirstin is passionate about serving Indigenous women, families and communities and has spent her career thus far in program development and coordination roles, health and environmental policy research and youth and student support services. Kirstin is committed to learning traditional Cree skills and land-based knowledges, and enjoys fishing, berry, mushroom and medicine picking with her family in northern Saskatchewan, as well as hiking, swimming, cycling and snowshoeing. Kirstin lives on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem First Nation).


Objectives: This workshop will explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on intimate partner and gender-based violence in Canada. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the barriers Indigenous women face when seeking anti-violence support services and how the field of social work can respond to and alleviate barriers for Indigenous women fleeing violence.

Historic and ongoing colonialism lays the foundation for the many ways that Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse peoples not only experience intimate partner violence, but also the barriers and realities Indigenous survivors face in accessing anti-violence supports and services. This webinar will introduce attendees to the issue of gender-based violence and violence against Indigenous women, girls, and gender diverse peoples. In this webinar we will cover topics such as the impact of COVID lockdowns and public health restrictions on intimate partner violence, child welfare and law enforcement agencies as colonial entities, and how social workers can alleviate the barriers to accessing supports and services faced by Indigenous survivors of intimate partner violence and gender-based violence.

This webinar may be of particular interest to Social Workers working in the fields of gender-based violence, intimate partner violence, and family violence. In addition, CASW members working in the child welfare system and supporting women in safe homes or transition homes will also find this webinar useful.

Purpose: To present the findings and recommendations of The Road to Safety: Indigenous Survivors in BC Speak Out against Intimate Partner Violence during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Please note that while The Road to Safety is British Columbia specific, presenters will speak to gender-based violence and intimate partner violence in Canada more broadly.