Advocacy & Policy

Violence Against Women

End violence against women and girls through advocacy for inclusive gender equality and the safety of women and girls.

Violence against women and girls is the world’s largest human rights violation and is pervasive in our society. Each year, violence and abuse drive over 75,000 women and children from their homes and into shelters across the country. For every 1000 sexual assaults that take place in Canada, only 3 perpetrators are convicted.

The annual Shelter Voices report shows shelters are beyond capacity, and are turning away more women and children than they are able to admit. Given the scarcity of affordable housing, women who are in shelter cannot leave, keeping shelters at capacity and unable to respond to women seeking safety.


The federal government estimates the economic impact of violence against women at $12.2 billion a year. Violence is a major driver of women’s homelessness and poverty. As the country’s single largest provider of shelter services for women and children fleeing violence, YWCA Canada conducts research, implements innovative national projects and advocates for policies and programs to prevent, reduce and end violence against women and girls. YWCA Canada is part of a national coalition working for a comprehensive National Action Plan on Violence Against Women that will coordinate policies at all three levels of government and across jurisdictions, fill gaps in access to shelter and support services, and ensure systemic change at a federal level.


Aboriginal women and girls report rates of violence three times higher than non-Indigenous women and girls. The national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, must, as the President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada has noted, effectively address the crisis and begin “to reverse the cycle of violence.”


Saying Yes: Effective Practices for Sheltering Women with Mental Health and Addiction Issues

The report, Saying Yes: Effective Practices for Sheltering Women with Mental Health and Addiction Issues, documented strategies that violence against women shelters are using to support violence survivors coping with mental health and substance issues. This research spawned a shared national systems change project, Open Doors, offering training to shelter staff on an Inclusive Service Model, and developing support resources available at

Nunavut Legal Information Manual for Violence Support Services

Violence Against Women Legal Information Resource: Supporting Aboriginal Women Facing Violence, is an online tool - - to support access to justice for Aboriginal women facing violence. This resource was part of a multi-year project that provided legal information workshops to violence services staff. The project also produced the Nunavut Legal Information Manual for Violence Support Services, in English and Inuktitut.

Empezar de Nuevo and Salir Adelante

Empezar de Nuevo and Salir Adelante are resources for Latinx (“x” replaces the traditional “a” to disrupt the gender binary) women fleeing violence and for service providers available at Empezar de Nuevo is a Spanish-language guide addressing violence and intersecting issues. Salir Adelante is a resource for service providers, based on promising practices and anti-oppressive, anti-racist, trauma-informed, and culturally safe frameworks.

Prostitution, Sex Work and Women’s Safety Policy

Prostitution, Sex Work and Women’s Safety Policy commits to meeting women where they are in their lives without judgment, and ensuring that all women - including sex workers and prostitutes - have full protection of the law and justice systems.


YWCA Canada’s Rose Campaign

Every year from November 25th to December 6th, the Rose Campaign brings awareness to ending violence against women and girls.


#NOTokay is an online campaign to call out every day acts of violence.