In the Fall of 2022, Interval House of Ottawa launched its first-ever peer support program for survivors of violence. The goal of the program is to provide a safe and accessible environment for survivors of violence to cultivate positive community connections and find common ground with other survivors. Lived experience and connection with peers is a powerful tool for healing from abuse, and it is associated with positive outcomes such as higher self-esteem, increased self-efficacy, and an improved ability to self-manage lived experiences.
Our peer support program, which is in its second cycle, runs for 10 weeks, once a week for 2 hours. We provide participants with coffee, tea, juice, and a variety of snacks and treats while the group facilitators initiate discussions about a variety of relevant topics. The topics discussed include the dynamics of abuse, connection and community, mental health, grief, loss, & coping, nurturing healthy relationships, self-empowerment, setting boundaries, and legal navigation.
So far, we have received really positive feedback from our group participants.
"It`s ok to be sad, it`s ok to be angry and most importantly it's ok to be happy. For a while I didn't allow myself to heal and feel. We have put our own happiness and feelings on the backburner for so long, just to please others. Relating with a group of women that are understanding and non judgmental was the best thing I could have done for myself. In group we learn about healthy relationships, loving ourselves again, how to set boundaries and lots more. I would highly recommend Peer Support group, take the leap, you wont regret it. You get to meet amazing women who understand what you have been through and feel empowered in a safe space. Nawal and Barb have created a friendly and comfortable environment that allows you to open up and become a new (and better) version of yourself.”
- group participant
“This group has helped me not feel alone. Like I'm going through this by myself, which has been life saving. It has saved my sanity, my sense of self and saved me from my sense of deep loneliness. There's nothing that quite helps you like knowing you're not alone. I'm deeply grateful to everyone in this group, including the support personnel that runs the group.” - group participant