In 2020 when the COVID 19 pandemic began, gender-based violence organizations quickly learned how devastating it would be to survivors and their children as the services and systems designed to support them would become limited.
Stay Safe, Stay Home became the message to protect ourselves and others from contracting COVID 19, but for those experiencing gender-based violence a dark reality emerged with increased severity and prevalence of gender-based violence and increased isolation from support and services. Gender-based violence services had to rethink how and where they connected with survivors, delivery of their services and work together in new ways.
As we all became more digitally engaged in online spaces for connection and information, Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses was offered an opportunity through the Rogers Family Foundation to digitally connect survivors to services and workers to existing resources. With that, our journey began to understand the vast landscape of gender-based violence services here in Ontario and the many individuals seeking information to support survivors and their children.
Through engagement with those working in organizations, survivors and a broad range of provincial associations representing hundreds of gender-based violence organizations across Ontario, we began to envision a digital platform that would encompass a space to include all gender-based violence focused services and supports that are available to anyone who is supporting survivors and their safety in Ontario.
With Safety Starts Here as our theme, and a Mulberry Tree as our symbol, each leaf represents trauma-informed prinicples:
- Trustworthiness & Transparency
- Peer Support, Collaboration & Mutuality
- Empowerment, Voice & Choice
- Cultural, Historical & Gender Issues
It is our hope that mulberry is just that–a starting place for survivors and those supporting them to be connected immediately to the right services and supports in communities across Ontario.
Ultimately mulberry is more than a website; it’s an opportunity for new growth, new knowledge and safer tomorrows. At the root of mulberry is our hope that for many survivors across Ontario, safety starts here.
More information about the mulberry development process can be found within our mulberry information document.
OAITH would like to acknowledge with much appreciation WomenatthecentrE for their contributions to this project. The survivor voices, lived experience and expertise that emerged through WomenatthecentrE were a key component in the development and design of mulberry. Through this process survivor safety, collaboration and transparency have been prioritized throughout development of the mulberry website.
Provincial Networks, Associations and Working Groups
The creation of the mulberry platform would also not have been possible without the help of the many experts among many provincial associations and networks who shared their feedback and visions for mulberry through our surveys and engagement sessions. We greatly appreciate the meaningful collaboration and expertise shared with us from the following organizations. To learn more about the work they are doing and to find more information about their member organizations please visit their provincial websites.
Aboriginal Shelters of Ontario
OAITH Covid-19 Working Group
Please note, accessing any of the above website links will take you to an external website. Some of the built-in safety features, included within mulberry, may not be available among these external websites.