Empowerment Toolkit

In Canada, this is Victims and Survivors of Crime Week and that means a week dedicated to focusing on victims and survivors, centered around a general theme.  There are training opportunities galore across the province as Victim Service sites take advantage of the opportunity to educate those around them about the unique needs of victims and survivors of crime.

We’re usually right up there with the rest of them in terms of hosting training events for service providers and information events for the general public.  But this year we decided to do something different.

The theme this year is empowerment.  A great idea and a great theme but when we sat down to think of what does that mean we realized that it is so very different for everyone.  It is based on what type of support you might need to help you get to where you want to be and feel confident and strong to keep going.

So we came up with a different idea instead.  We created an empowerment toolkit.

There are a couple of things that most victim service organizations do for the folks they meet.  They often provide resources and they help navigate a complex social service system in their community to assist folks to get access to what they need or want next.  For us here in particular, in Lanark, Leeds & Grenville, that often means providing kits of information about what you have experienced, about trauma, about what you might expect next and about coping (among other things).  These kits are simply to help people have access to relevant information to their particular experience and a place to start while trying to figure it all out.

Hence the Empowerment Toolkit idea came about.

Thanks to the work of our community coordinator who really did the bulk of this, we came up with some themes to focus on that include;


  • tips for taking care of yourself, things like ideas on how to nurture yourself.  We even managed to get our hands on a self-care wheel, similar to the domestic violence wheels you see out there only this one is focused on wellness and balance.
  •  sleep hygiene because you know, sleep can become an issue when you have had stuff happen in your life.  Nighttime can feel threatening and scary and that can make getting enough sleep difficult which in turns creates more difficulties.  Some tips include how to set up a bedtime routine and what to do if anxiety gets in the way
  • dealing with flashbacks because it is common for people who have had traumatic experiences to relive them through flashbacks and ultimately make it very difficult to move forward in life in the way you wish to.
  • explaining triggers because it is easier to take control of your situation if you can help determine what elements help to set off things like flashbacks
  • grounding techniques since these are extremely helpful in terms of managing triggers, flashbacks, anxiety attacks and nightmares
  • healthy relationships, boundaries and assertiveness.  Sometimes our perspective can change as a result of everything we have experienced.  This includes our perspectives on relationships.  Sometimes trauma and unhealthy relationships started when we were very young and that also means learning as an adult on how to set boundaries in order to help protect ourselves emotionally as well as physically
  • criminal court and family court.  They each get their own page because they are very different and understanding how and why they work and when you may need to be involved with each is extremely important.  Court can make anyone feel like their life is out of control so any information can be helpful
  • we even have a small page on internet safety because knowing how to take care of and protect yourself online is very important in today’s day and age.  Abuse comes in many forms and we have seen a tremendous amount of it over social media

Realistically, this toolkit is just a start or snippet towards getting on your feet or staying on your feet but if it helps provide even the smallest amount of helpful information on someone’s journey to feeling empowered and like they can take control of their life then it was worth it.

To view the toolkit in its entirety and download a version for yourself, please visit  Empowerment Toolkit

Categories: Assault, Break and Enter / Home Invasion, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Elder Abuse, Forced Marriages, Hate Crimes, Human Trafficking, Sexual assault, Stalking & Harassment, Trauma, Victimization

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