Gender-Based Violence (GBV) workers provide vital services such as crisis counselling, legal help, housing support and administrative assistance among many others, to those impacted by GBV. In doing so, the people who work with survivors/perpetrators of all forms of GBV are exposed to high levels of trauma daily, in addition to facing challenging working conditions due to the under-funding of services. Vicarious trauma coupled with challenges such as inadequate compensation, precarious work and an increasing need for services are common, leading to burnout and negatively impacting the wellbeing of workers.
The findings of EVA Canada’s recent national survey of over one hundred sexual violence organizations exemplified some of the challenges faced by the Canadian GBV sector. For example, 63% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that contract work and/or low salaries impacted their ability to attract or retain staff. Further, comments from survey respondents documented the trauma associated with the work, the complexity of the work and that government funding has not kept pace with the demand for services:
“…working within the field of sexual violence has a high risk of vicarious trauma. Staff [from our organization have] left positions for other “less stressful” work in schools, or to take time away from the workforce.”
“Our funding envelopes from provincial funders have not at all kept pace with demand for our services or rising economic costs. We are grossly underpaid considering the complex work we do.”
“Our agency is now seeing 4x the number of clients on the same budget.”
EVA Canada is looking to learn more about the various ways that GBV worker’s health, safety, and wellness are affected by their working conditions in Canada. As part of our Building Supports for the Gender-Based Violence Workforce project, we have created a 5-minute anonymous questionnaire for anyone whose paid or volunteer work routinely exposes them to survivors, perpetrators, or stories of sexual/domestic/gender-based violence, or the trauma caused by these types of violence.
We want to hear from anyone working or volunteering in the GBV sector and invite you to fill out the 5-minute questionnaire.
For more information or questions about the project please contact email@example.com