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Abuse Survivors Face Unique Barriers to Success, Study Says

Interval House Toronto Improves Programming Based on the Intersecting Barriers Faced by Survivors of Abuse

TORONTOJune 12, 2017 – Interval House Toronto commissioned a study to examine the challenges faced by women survivors of intimate partner violence in securing meaningful employment and achieving self-sufficiency. The report that came out of that study is called “Barriers to Employability and Employment for Women Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence” and it found that these survivors experience a series of unique, intersecting barriers to achieving self-sufficiency.  These barriers compound one another and the existence of the barriers is a systemic barrier itself. Briefly, the barriers outlined in the report are:

  • Financial insecurity and dependence on social assistance
  • Lack of food and clothing
  • Lack of child care and child-related issues
  • Lack of housing and potential homelessness
  • Lack of formal education and work skills training
  • Lack of work experience and workplace skills
  • Lack of support and professional networks
  • Discrimination and stigma
  • Lack of ability to use job search strategies
  • Personal identification and documentation needs
  • Employment that is typically accessible to survivors
  • Susceptibility to health issues
  • Lack of transportation
  • Legal issues
  • Immigration issues
  • Lack of access to counselling for employment/employability
  • Psycho-emotional issues related to abuse and trauma

The full report can be read here:

Interval House has used the findings from the study to inform a revamp of the Building Economic Self-Sufficiency (BESS) program, which was originally launched in 1998 as the first employment program specifically for women survivors of domestic violence. While the program has been successful in helping women secure meaningful employment and housing, the improvements will go further to help women, regardless of what stage of the recovery process they are in. Originally a regimented, two-week program for women deemed “employment ready,” the program is now more accessible, allowing women to enter who are not yet “employment ready” and giving them the opportunity to complete the modules that will benefit them on a flexible timeline.

Interval House will officially launch the improved BESS program at our annual celebration event on June 14, 2017. The event will serve to announce the changes to the program, celebrate the achievements of the BESS clients, and thank the supporters and employment partners that make BESS possible.



Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 6:00PM-8:00PM

Keynote Speaker:

Heather Mallick, Staff Columnist, Toronto Star


7 Hart House Circle, Toronto, ON – M5S 3H3

About Interval House 
As the first centre for abused women and children in Canada, Interval House is a leader in the campaign for women’s empowerment, providing innovative, specialized services that help abused women and their children transform their lives and break the cycle of violence. Interval House’s holistic approach provides a continuum of services from crisis intervention to re-integration into the workforce and community, giving women and children the chance to rebuild their lives. For more information please visit

SOURCE Interval House

For further information: including media access to the BESS celebration or interviews with representatives from Interval House, partners or a survivor of violence who has benefited from BESS, contact: Rachel Ramkaran, Resource Development and Communications Associate,, 416.924.1411 x231

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