How SAFE is working to engage people and communities
We want to ensure everyone has access to services, information and supports. SAFE has focused on the following areas to support engaging the community in addressing the health and safety of the neighbourhood:
- Kitchen Table Discussions
- Public Education
- SAFEyouth: Preventing Sexual Exploitation
- Outreach to Sex Workers
Kitchen table discussions build a sense of community and shared understanding, and provide a venue for generating dialogue and engagement with health and safety issues related to sex work. These dialogues are facilitated by trained volunteers and are supported by the presence of experiential individuals who provide insights into questions that arise. SAFE developed a Kitchen Table Discussion Guide to assist in holding community dialogues.
What is a Kitchen Table discussion?
A kitchen table discussion takes place when a small collection of people gets together to talk, listen and share ideas on subjects of mutual interest. The environment should be comfortable and have a feeling of informality. Because they are in an informal setting, participants tend to be more willing to discuss issues and listen to and consider different perspectives.
Kitchen table discussions aim to encourage people to continue discussing an issue until all members have had a chance to be heard. It provides an opportunity for sharing opinions and information and alternatives/suggestions for neighborhood issues and proposals.
- Maximizes genuine listening, and respect for different perspectives
- Builds social networks and engagement
- Maximizes the likelihood of respectful debate and decreases the likelihood of conflict because it is small and held in a neutral environment
- Provides an early opportunity to identify potential conflicts, if an issue is contentious
Some comments from past participants of SAFE Kitchen Table discussions:
“I am going to tell friends and neighbours everything I learned tonight.”
“I would feel safer if we all agreed this is a health issue not a criminal one.”
“I think the community should educate people about sex work and make more help available for sex workers.”
“I have learned not to stigmatize.”
“I want to attend more forums in Collingwood and pay attention. Does everyone seem safe? I think it is important to patronize the businesses on Kingsway.”
“We need to challenge our use of language and not dehumanize people.”
“We need resources for better coordination among support services.”
There are many myths and stereotypes related to sex work and sex workers in our society that make it difficult for sex workers to access the health and safety supports that they need. SAFE has developed a series of pocket brochures which include helpful tips, information and resources for sex workers, businesses and residents, parents and families, children and youth in Collingwood.
These brochures were developed in collaboration with local businesses, residents, sex worker support organizations, service agencies, policing representatives and educators and are used to share accurate information on sex work.
To assist organizations in understanding some of the issues faced by sex workers and identifying ways that community services are more accessible, respectful, and caring a sensitivity training package was developed. The package can be used in volunteer and staff training or by residents who have questions or concerns. The package includes a Sensitivity Training Guide, power points with voice-over for businesses, medical professionals, organizations, and residents. A general handout and a handout for parents was also developed to accompany the presentations.
We value the input we have received from the community and encourage you to continue to be involved. We are building a strong and healthy community through our work together.
SAFEyouth: Preventing Sexual Exploitation
The prevention of sexual exploitation of children and youth was a significant goal of the project. Prevention includes educating and supporting youth as well as their parents and caregivers. The SAFEyouth Video Project “CyberSmart CyberSAFE” is a series of short video animations that teach youth and parents about sexual exploitation and how to stay safe. While the focus is on internet safety the videos also address risk factors that occur in the community. A package of resources was developed and includes: 7 short video animations, a facilitators guide, a parent presentation, and parent handouts.
Outreach to Sex Workers
The SAFE Outreach Team provides confidential support, health and safety kits, and resource information to sex workers in the Collingwood area. By meeting sex workers on their terms, SAFE Outreach Workers develop relationships of trust so that sex workers’ health, safety, and community relationships are improved. The long-term goal of the SAFE Outreach Team is to facilitate supportive peer relationships between sex workers.
If you are a sex worker in the Collingwood area and need help, you can leave a message for a SAFE Outreach Worker anytime at 778-708-3227.
Outreach workers are also available to meet with businesses in Collingwood to share information about SAFE and SAFE resources. Call the Outreach Workers at 778-708-3227 anytime to leave a message.