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Women's Equality Branch
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Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre

This is the third and last article of a series called Managing the Impacts of Front-Line Work

In discussing the ways to mitigate the effects of vicarious trauma, burnout and compassion fatigue, the efforts of the organizations are just as important as the efforts of the individual. If the strategies an individual employs to take care of themselves are not supported by their employer, or their workplace does not have policies that encourage self care, it can be easy to blame the worker when they aren’t doing well. Someone suffering from vicarious trauma may be told to improve their work/life balance, yet if their work environment makes that impossible, it is not the fault of the individual.

Dr. Charles Figley, one of the world’s leading experts in the area of compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma, is the founder of the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology. One of the resources his organization provides to employers is the Green Cross Standards of Self Care that workplaces can use to enhance their policies to support self care for their staff:

Some basic considerations for organizations to consider are:

  • Ensuring adequate salary and time off.  This can be difficult with increased cuts to budgets. However when staff feel that their direct supervisors are advocating for them when discussions of pay and time off are being discussed, this goes a long way to ensuring staff feel valued.
  • Professional development and appropriate management. Often compassion fatigue stems from a sense of powerlessness and incompetence. When front line workers don’t know how to handle difficult situations, it can make them feel defensive and frustrated with the people they are hoping to serve.
  • A work environment that is supportive of and provides access to medical leave and mental health services. Often people working sick or working when they are mentally exhausted. This creates a culture where employees feel they cannot take sick time for fear of being penalized or stigmatized as lazy, taking advantage or incompetent.  When supervisors create a culture where it is encouraged to take care of health issues, and set an example themselves, absenteeism declines.
  • Creating standards around low impact debriefing. Sharing difficult stories and graphic details can actually spread vicarious trauma within the workplace. Implementing these strategies for low impact debriefing can lower trauma exposure for colleagues and still provide the support a helper needs. Here are some tips for employees:

                    *  Be aware of how you tend to debrief when you have heard hard things
                    *  Give co-workers fair warning that you need to talk about something challenging
                    *  Make sure your co-worker can listen to a difficult story; they may not be in a good place
                    * Start on the outside of the story and work in – from the least traumatic information to the
                      most traumatic. You may not need to tell the graphic details in the end.


Green Cross Academy of Traumatology:

Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre:,




Partners For Youth Inc. invites you to attend the launch of a new project that seeks to prevent the trafficking of girls and young women in New Brunswick. The event will be held on August 10 at 11:30 am at Grace Memorial Church in Fredericton. Refreshments will be available following the launch. Please RSVP before by contacting John Sharpe, at

Fergusson Foundation now accepting proposals for funding from registered charities for projects dealing with family violence. Organizations selected will be awarded a grant, to a maximum of $3,000 to undertake projects in areas including counseling, training, public education and educational research. Must fall into one of the following categories: operation of emergency shelters and the provision of counseling and other services to victims of family violence; development of counseling and training programs for the education of counselors working with victims of family violence; development of public education programs about family violence; support of educational research into the causes of family violence, and to assist with the education and training of victims of family violence. Deadline for applications: August 10th, 2015. 

The Coalition Against Abuse in Relationships, Inc.  1st annual golf tournament, Moncton Golf & Country Club Thursday, September 24.  Registration at 11:00 am. Gun Shot tee-off at 12:30 pm.  Wine & Food Pairing event at the Chocolate River Station, Cocoa Room, Wednesday, September 23. Cocktail Reception will start at 6:00pm.  Registration fee - $200 per golfer. Wine & Food only - $100 per person. To register, please forward registrations to  Cheques should be payable to Coalition Against Abuse in Relationships and mailed to: CAAR, 118 Mountain Rd, Moncton NGB, E1C 2K7. For more information please call 506-853-3584.

The Voter’s Guide is now available for the 2015 Federal Election! This guide has been written for International Women's Rights Project (IWRP) by Michael McDonald from the University of Victoria and is available to be adapted and used by individuals and organizations during the federal election. Please share it widely! View the guide here:

The Coalition Against the Sexual Exploitation of Youth (CASEY) in St. John's NL, Canada has recently produced a 16 minute video that can be used for education, training and awareness. For information on Human Trafficking, please read the New Brunswick Working Group on Human Trafficking’s fact sheets here:

New Documentary Reveals the Life-Saving Impact of Jungle Mamas Program. The Jungle Mamas program is designed to eliminate all preventable deaths in pregnancy and childbirth of Achuar mothers and babies by empowering Achuar communities with the tools needed to be their own agents of change. The Heart of Everything—Jungle Mamas: Changemakers in the Amazon is a documentary about this program. Watch the documentary

Play Fair is a compelling, unflinching and visually rich documentary that questions the assumption that women’s fight for full rights in the world of sports is over. The film explores five decades of activism and legal challenges that women fought to ensure they would have equal access and rights to compete in sports on elite and community levels. There have been many victories but has equity really been achieved? There is still a lack of women in leadership positions in the sporting boardrooms and on the fields. The sexualization and objectification of women athletes persists as does the economic disparity between male and female professional athletes. Watch the video.

Malala Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, celebrated her 18th birthday in Lebanon on Sunday [July 12] by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls and called on world leaders to invest in "books not bullets". Malala became a symbol of defiance after she was shot on a school bus in Pakistan 2012 by the Taliban for advocating girls' rights to education. She continued campaigning and won the Nobel in 2014. Watch the video here.

Call out for participation in the World March of Women in Fredericton. Saturday, October 17, 2015. The World March of Women is a movement linking grassroots groups & organizations working to eliminate the causes at the root of poverty and violence against women. Email

Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention Training (SACIT):  SACIT is a 5-day training for any service provider who may encounter a disclosure of sexual assault, and wants to learn how to better respond and how to better support victims.  Participants learn the myths and realities of sexual violence, medical and legal aspects, information on childhood sexual abuse, and how to crisis intervene and support a survivor of sexual violence.  SACIT will be offered in Fredericton on September 28 - October 2.  Cost is $300 for government and private organizations, and $200 for non-profit organizations.  For more information, or to register, please contact Jenn Richard by email at or by phone at 506-452-6986.

New Brunswick Agencies, Boards and Commissions (ABCs): Qualified women and men having the highest personal and professional integrity are invited to serve on New Brunswick agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs).   Vacancy for appointment - Financial and Consumer Services Tribunal Member. Created by the Financial and Consumer Services Commission Act, the Tribunal adjudicates on matters under financial and consumer services legislation administered by the Financial and Consumer Services Commission, and hears appeals of regulatory decisions of staff of the Commission. Members of the Tribunal receive an annual retainer of $5,000, a service fee of $350 per activity undertaken as part of their functions and are reimbursed for expenses. Travel is required. To apply: Financial and Consumer Services Tribunal. For more opportunities, check out the following link: ABC current opportunities

Blind Date with a Star.  Spring 2016.  50 Celebrities, 25 Restaurants, and a fabulous evening of fine dining among the greatest restaurants in our communities.  Only 500 tickets will be sold.  This exciting evening will help support Youth Mental Services provided by the Beausejour Family Crisis Resource Centre

Voices of New Brunswick Women Consensus-Building Forum – Contact Us: Sartain MacDonald Building, 551 King Street, Suite 103, Fredericton NB E3B 1E7, T. 506.462.5179, 1-844-462-5179, F. 506.462.5069, E.,


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The proportion of Aboriginal women in band governments is comparable to the female presence in municipal governments in New Brunswick. In 2014, in the elected band governments of New Brunswick’s 15 First Nations communities, women made up 35% of the councillors and 40% of the Chiefs.

Visit the Equality Profile 
and send us your feedback HERE

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The last national debate on the issue took place 31 years ago

More than three decades ago, the leaders of Canada’s three main political parties believed women’s issues were important enough to hold a special televised debate to discuss them before the federal election.

It’s the only time that it has happened. It was long enough ago that Peter Mansbridge, who introduced the debate, still had hair; newspapers’ archives were stored in filing cabinets; and feminism was a word widely embraced by women both young and old.

Lots has changed since 1984. But despite the promises made by then Liberal prime minister John Turner, Progressive Conservative leader Brian Mulroney and NDP leader Ed Broadbent, gender equity remains elusive.

There is still no national child care strategy. Pay equity doesn’t exist. Domestic violence is endemic.

Internationally, Canada is in a downward slide when it comes to gender equity.

Less than a decade ago when the World Economic Forum did its first gender-equity rankings, Canada was seventh.

Last year, Canada was 19th out of 142 countries. Even though it ranked first in terms of women’s educational attainment, Canada is 100th for health and survival, 42nd in political empowerment and 17th in economic participation.

More than 30 years after the three national leaders promised to bridge the gender wage gap, women still earn 20-per-cent less than men working beside them.

It’s not good enough because, unlike 30 years ago, women’s educational levels are now higher than men’s in every area except the trades.

How is it that all these years after the pledges the three party leaders made to doing something about having more women in leadership roles, twice as many men than women are senior managers and three times as many men get elected?


They’re not just another visible minority with fringe issues. They make up half of all potential voters and, in the last election in 2011, half a million more women than men cast a ballot.





(…) Protecting LGBT people from violence and discrimination does not require the creation of a new set of LGBT-specific rights, nor does it require the establishment of new international human rights standards. The legal obligations of States to safeguard the human rights of LGBT people are well established in international human rights law on the basis of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequently agreed international human rights treaties. All people, irrespective of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to enjoy the protections provided for by international human rights law, including in respect of rights to life, security of person and privacy, the right to be free from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

The core legal obligations of States with respect to protecting the human rights of LGBT people include obligations to:

  • Protect individuals from homophobic and transphobic violence.
  • Prevent torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
  • Repeal laws criminalizing homosexuality and transgender people.
  • Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Safeguard freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly for all LGBT people.

Recent advances

In recent years, many States have made a determined effort to strengthen human rights protection for LGBT people. An array of new laws has been adopted – including laws banning discrimination, penalizing homophobic and transphobic hate crimes, granting recognition of same-sex relationships, and making it easier for transgender individuals to obtain official documents that reflect their preferred gender. Training programmes have been developed for police, prison staff, teachers, social workers and other personnel, and anti-bullying initiatives have been implemented in many schools. (…)


Discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity - Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights:

Read Canada’s Response:


UN also cites failure to set up effective procedures for responding to its criticisms.

The UN human rights committee is accusing the Canadian government of failing to act on missing and murdered aboriginal women, violence against women generally, and numerous other matters, ranging from refugees to Bill C-51, the new anti-terror law.

The UN's first report card on Canada in 10 years was released Thursday [July 23], and measures whether the country has met its human rights obligations. (…)

Here's a list of some of the UN committee's criticisms and recommendations:

  • Business: "Human rights abuses by Canadian companies operating abroad, in particular mining corporations," should be addressed by an independent authority and a framework that give victims the possibility of legal remedies.
  • Gender equality: The committee notes "persisting inequalities between women and men" in Canada and wants better equal pay legislation across the country," with a special focus on minority and indigenous women."
  • Violence against women: Continued violence against women in Canada, and the "the lack of statistical data on domestic violence," led the committee to call for better legal protections for victims, and for more shelters and services.
  • Missing and murdered aboriginal women: … the committee said "indigenous women and girls are disproportionately affected by life-threatening forms of violence, homicides and disappearances…"
  • Bill C-51: Canada's new anti-terror law allows mass surveillance, too much information-sharing, and a no-fly list that lacks proper governance and appeal, the committee says. It suggests Canada should review the act and allow for better legal safeguards.
  • Police use of force: The committee notes excessive force during protests such as those at the G20  in 2010 and recommends prompt, impartial investigations, along with prosecutions of those responsible where warranted
  • Refugees and immigration (…)

Other recommendations cover prison conditions in Canada, freedom of expression, native land titles, the Indian Act and the condition of indigenous people generally.

It asks for a response from Canada five years from now on what improvements and implementations have been made as a result of its recommendations.




“When women are excluded or hampered to participate, the capability to innovate,
reform and adapt of societies is unnecessarily limited.”

-Mark Rutte
Prime Minister of the Netherlands

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Women's Equality Branch | 551 King Street, Suite A | Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1