Abused Women Across Canada to Benefit from New Online Counselling Service

    TORONTO, March 11 /CNW/ - Abused women across Canada will now be able to
benefit from an innovative eCounselling service provided through new funding
to Shelternet for Abused Women, a Canadian not-for-profit charitable
organization committed to decreasing the barriers faced by women accessing
help online, and increasing the technological capacity of women's shelters.
    Funding worth $642,658 will be provided to Shelternet for a project
entitled Online Counselling for Abused Women. The support for this progressive
and relevant response to the plight of abused women was announced Thursday,
March 6, 2008 by the Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Canadian Heritage,
Status of Women and Official Languages Status of Women Canada.
    "This government recognizes that Canadians are part of the information
age and has taken an important step in supporting women at risk through
Internet technology," said Bridget Goldsmith, President of Shelternet. "This
innovative national project will provide abused women in rural and remote
communities with increased access to support by using the Internet."
    The new eCounselling project will enable shelters, through their trained
staff, to safely and confidentially provide supportive follow-up counselling
to known clients of the shelter. Shelternet is not a direct service provider,
but rather puts women in contact with shelters and local helplines and does
not provide any form of counselling itself.
    "In rural areas throughout Canada some barriers that exist for women
accessing services are: lack of transportation, lack of access, an inability
to connect regularly with shelter workers and isolation," said Treena Shram,
Pavilion Family Resource Centre, Ontario. "Shelternet's eCounselling service
brings the counsellor right to the women through technology. It's an amazing
opportunity and we hope to be able to offer eServices on a regular basis in
the future."
    Shelternet provides abused women and their children with information and
resources, including a clickable online map of Canada that links them to
shelters and second stage housing facilities in close proximity. Shelternet
supports over 100,000 Canadian women each year. www.shelternet.ca is
translated into 10 languages.

For further information:

For further information: or for interviews contact Laura Babcock, Media
Liaison, tel. (905) 466-3010 or email powergroup@bellnet.ca

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