Gender-based violence is on the rise. Do you know what it is and who it affects?

You can read our latest Cambridge Times piece on their website here or below: 

In the wake of COVID-19, rates of gender-based violence (GBV) are on the rise in Waterloo Region. At Family Counselling Centre of Cambridge and North Dumfries (FCCCND), we have seen a 9.5 per cent increase in individuals supported for abuse in their relationships, with our counsellors supporting 162 individuals facing this issue in the period from April 1, 2021, to March 31 of this year, up from 148 individuals the previous fiscal year.

For those unaware, GBV refers to any act of violence, whether it is physical, sexual, emotional, financial or spiritual, directed at an individual because of their gender. Gender inequality, harmful gender norms, patriarchy and abuse of power are some of the root causes of GBV. Having this information can help individuals identify when they or someone else may be experiencing GBV.

GBV is not only a human rights violation, it is also criminal in many contexts. Some examples of GBV include intimate partner violence, sexual violence (including child sexual abuse), sexual harassment, human trafficking, catcalling, honour killings and more.

While women are subjected to higher rates of GBV, it can affect people of all genders and ages. It is important to note that boys and men experience GBV too, with 1 in 8 Canadian men incurring some form of undesired sexual behaviour in 2018 while in public.

Although anyone can experience GBV, we recognize that the intersections of one’s identity can disproportionately increase one’s risk of GBV. According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Indigenous women and girls, disabled women, children involved with the child welfare system and individuals identifying as 2SLGBTQ+ all experience GBV at higher rates.

The compounding oppressions many individuals face arise from ableism and living in a system of ongoing colonialism, as well as heteronormative societal discourses, which together contribute to certain groups and individuals being made more vulnerable to GBV.

To better serve these individuals and all survivors of GBV, this fall, we at FCCCND are undertaking an internal program review and environmental scan to gain a greater understanding of individual and community needs as well as gaps in our services and those in the community. In the meantime, we know how critical in-person services are to ensuring those affected by GBV can access support. As such, we are happy to be launching our weekly and fully funded walk-in counselling services again every Thursday.

Our highly qualified therapists are trained and experienced in supporting survivors in a person-centered and trauma-informed manner. Together, it is our hope that they can help fill the gap in supports survivors of GBV face due to long wait-lists across the region.

You, your loved one or your friend does not have to walk this journey alone. All of us at FCCCND are here for you. Please reach out to us at 519-621-5090 or email us at

If you are in crisis, please call the 24-7 support line offered by Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region at 519-741-8633.

Additionally, you can call Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region at their 24-7 crisis line at 519-742-5894 or access their live chat at

Cassandra Dawson is a bachelor of social work student at King’s University College at Western University, and Emma Callon is a facilitator in the Partner Assault Response program with FCCCND.