Two programs that were offered by Act to End Violence Against Women – the Toronto Jewish community’s sole agency providing a full range of services for women and children who have experienced domestic violence, which announced recently that it is closing due to lack of funds – have been rescued.
The Toronto branch of the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJW) will assume operations of Act to End Violence’s Jewish Legal Information and Support program – which helped women navigate Ontario’s legal system by provided legal support workers, education, referrals to lawyers and other resources – and the Shalom Task Force, a hotline that provides referrals.
NCJW Toronto’s board of directors voted unanimously on July 31 to take over the services. It also hired a staffer, Ariella Boehm, who did outreach and legal support at Act to End Violence, to administer the programs.
Act to End Violence’s other services, which included short-term emergency housing, a kosher shelter for Jewish women and children who have experienced abuse and fundraising for a facility in Israel that provides treatment and services for young victims of violence, will fall by the wayside.
NCJW Toronto was approached by Act to End Violence, to assume only these two programs, said executive director Jessica Kronis.
It was shocking news earlier this summer, when Act to End Violence Against Women, formerly B’nai Brith Women of Canada and Jewish Women International of Canada, announced it was shutting down because of a lack of funds. Its operating budget over the past year was between $300,000 and $400,000.
The announcement of the closure triggered a flurry of criticism on social media, with many lamenting that a community that raises millions of dollars each year could not help victims of domestic violence.
Taking over these two “vital” programs is “good news,” said NCJW Toronto president Eva Karpati. “It’s something that fits perfectly with our mission and mandate. It’s very fortunate that we’re in a position to do that.”
Karpati would not disclose how much funding the two programs would need, in order to operate.
Act To End Violence Against Women is “delighted” that the two services will be assumed by NCJW Toronto, said Penny Krowitz, who served as Act to End to Violence Against Women’s executive director for 34 years.