My student placement with IWSO
From January to April 2022, I had the privilege of doing my social work field placement with IWSO. As a first year Master of Social Work student (Carleton University) with previous experience in federal-level advocacy on issues impacting refugees and displaced peoples, I was keen to learn about the ways in which a community-based organization can support immigrant and racialized women as they settle and integrate into Canada.
Providing administrative support to the Crisis Intervention and Counselling Services department, I learned about IWSO’s approach to providing non-judgmental, culturally-sensitive support to newcomer women fleeing abuse and gender-based violence. Unfortunately, the pandemic has increased levels of domestic abuse, leaving many women and their children feeling isolated, unsafe, and trapped in violent situations. To support these clients with a sense of stability, IWSO provides crisis intervention, safety planning, advocacy and referrals, housing and transitional support, and therapeutic-counselling.
By shadowing my tireless Crisis Department colleagues, I gained insight into the intake process; how crisis counsellors use strengths-based approaches to support clients as they work through their fear, grief, and anger; and the ways in which IWSO works with other referral agencies in the community to ensure clients receive access to a range of important services.
During my placement, I also had the privilege of sitting in on some of the wonderful activities of the Settlement and Integration department, including English Conversation Circles and the delightfully-named “Tea and Topics” sessions. Through these opportunities, I learned about the many important ways in which community-level supports can help reduce significant stressors for newcomer women and allow them to build a new life and sense of belonging in Canada.
Immigrant Women Services Ottawa
219 Argyle Avenue, Suite 400