Project Shift: Creating a safer digital world for young women

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We are living in a digital age where cyberviolence* transcends spaces from schools, hallways, campus grounds, workplaces to the home. 

Through Project Shift, a 30-month project funded by Status of Women Canada, YWCA Canada and partners are working to create a safer digital world for girls and young women. 

With the support of Gentium Consulting, YWCA Canada conducted a needs assessment applying a gender based analysis to the issue of cyberviolence. Girls, young women, subject matter experts from thejustice, law enforcement, and information and communication technology (ICT) sectors, along with educators, parents, program workers from across the country participated in consultations to identity gaps, challenges and promising practices and strategies to end cyberviolence. Click here for the Needs Assessment Report Summary. 

To foster ongoing dialogue and education, YWCA Canada and partners are hosting knowledge sharing events across the country to share the findings of the needs assessment and mobilize support for recommendations. 

In collaboration with young women, project partners and advisors, YWCA Canada has identified strategies that respond to the Needs Assessment Recommendations that address educational institutions, the ICT sector, parents, teachers and other adults.  Strategies which will be piloted and evaluated will focus on creating systemic change.This includes encouraging the ICT sector to incorporate a gender lens and understanding of sex discrimination and harassment in their work and creating a shift in the way adults are respond to girls and young women when they report an incident of cyberviolence. 

If you are interested in learning more about this project or would like to partner or participate in the ICT Sector Advisory Task Force please contact Raine Liliefeldt, 

Project Shift defines cyberviolence as online behaviour that assaults, or leads to criminal or non-criminal assault of a person’s physical, psychological or emotional well-being.It can be perpetrated, or experienced by an individual or group, and happen via a wide range of communication technologies, including online, via smartphones, internet games, etc. Although most cyberviolence takes place online, we recognize that it affects people offline and has real world implications. Some examples of cyberviolence include, but are not limited to: online harassment, threatening, bullying, blackmailing, unwanted sexting, stalking, hate speech, luring, and non-consensual distribution of images. 

YWCA Canada would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Young Women’s Advisory Council, comprised of young women from across the country, for their time and input across project activities. The collaboration of these young women, as well the participation of the partners and advisors listed below, is helping Project Shift to build the momentum needed for systemic change. 

Project Partners:

4Rs Youth Movement

Canadian Council of Muslim Women

CYCC Network

Disabled Women’s Network Canada

Facebook Canada

Gentium Consulting

Girls Action Foundation

Jane Bailey – University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law

Kids Help Phone

Ladies Learning Code


Microsoft Canada

Nika Naimi – Consultant & Lecturer, École Polytechnique de Montréal

RCMP Centre for Youth Crime Prevention

Student Commission

YWCA Agvvik Nunavut

YWCA Cambridge

YWCA Halifax

YWCA Hamilton

YWCA Kitchener-Waterloo

YWCA Lethbridge& District

YWCA Metro Vancouver

YWCA Moncton

YWCA Montreal

YWCA Peterborough-Haliburton

YWCA St. John’s

YWCA St. Thomas-Elgin

YWCA Toronto

YWCA Yellowknife 

National Cross-Sector Advisors:

Altus Dynamics

Atwater Library & Computer Centre

Behaviour Interactive

Canadian Women’s Foundation

Jeunesse, J’écoute

Manitoba Crown Attorney

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

UofT Faculty of Information Studies

Voices of New Brunswick Women Consensus Building Forum