NFF Immigrant and Refugee Communities Project

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Organization: OCASI
Started in: 2011


Recognizing that violence against immigrant and refugee women as a gravely important issue, OCASI has joined forces with the Ontario Women's Directorate (OWD) to facilitate Neighbours, Friends and Families (NFF) campaign. The NFF Immigrant and Refugee Communities Project is a culturally and linguistically sensitive training program that assists settlement workers at each participating organization to reach out to those closest to victims of domestic abuse - teaching them to recognize the signs of abuse and know what actions to take in response. The NFF Immigrant and Refugee Communities Project seeks to increase the public's confidence to offer support and make referrals to victims of domestic abuse by providing a series of Training Workshops for NFF Community Coordinators and Community-based NFF Champions. NFF brochures have been translated into multiple languages and are available to all community members. OCASI provides strategic guidance and support to implementing agencies. The project is funded by the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Women's Directorate.

What is NFF?

Neighbours, Friends and Families (NFF) is a province-wide public education campaign run by the Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children, with support from the Ontario Women’s Directorate, to raise awareness of the signs of woman abuse so that those close to an at-risk woman or an abusive man can help.

Why the “Diverse Communities” focus of the NFF project?

The NFF campaign has been running successfully for several years in the mainstream, and subsequently, Aboriginal communities in the province. However, it has not made inroads in immigrant, culturally-diverse or faith-based communities. With OCASI’s support, NFF hopes to reach these communities. To promote the NFF campaign effectively, NFF staff want to work collaboratively with community leaders who best understand their community’s needs. Each community has different experiences with woman abuse, and has its own unique features, risk factors and safety issues to be considered. We understand that women and their children face multiple barriers, in relation to their gender, culture, language, geographic location, class, ability, faith/spirituality, and immigration status when dealing with violence and accessing supports. As such, implementation of the Neighbours, Friends and Families campaign must be rooted in the specific needs and assets of each community.

What is OCASI’s role?

Violence against immigrant and refugee women has been recognized by immigrant serving agencies as a gravely important issue in their communities. Violence, in all its forms, is a major barrier to women’s safety; self-reliance; and social, economic, political, cultural and psychological participation in society. To that end, OCASI has made the prevention of violence against immigrant and refugee women as one of its priority areas.

Project Management and Funder

The NFF project is managed by OCASI and funded by the Ontario Women’s Directorate (OWD).

NFF Website

The NFF Community of Practice Website

OCASI has also developed a community of Practice website which is geared towards continuing and expanding the discussions surrounding violence against immigrant and refugee women. This is a platform where individuals participating in a Neighbours, Friends and Families program can engage with each other by sharing knowledge and expertise.

Website URL

The website's URL is

Functions of the Website

The website ( has three main functions which will support you in your work:

ELearning: OCASI is currently offering four online courses, three (3) are self-directed courses and one (1) is a facilitated course. This means that there is no physical presence required to take these courses. All reading and assignments are on the Internet. The material is set-up in a way that you can complete the course at your own pace, for your own learning. There is no pre-requisite for completing any of the courses. Click to learn more Resource Center: This section includes material accessible to the general public including articles, research studies, government reports, community resources and community initiatives related to violence against women. Go to the Resource Center. Community of Practice Forum: The CoP Forum will provide the opportunity for service providers participating in the Neighbours, Friends and Families (NFF) campaign to create and sustain an online network to support one another in addressing issues of woman abuse, to promote enhanced professionalism and to increase quality of service to immigrant and refugee communities. The forum is also open to individuals not yet engaged in a NFF initiative to also join in the discussion.

Social Media

NFF engages with diverse stakeholders through its social media initiatives. Follow NFF on twitter (@ircNFF) or like the facebook page

Other NFF campaigns in Ontario

The NFF Campaign in Immigrant and Refugee Communities is one NFF campaign. Here are some others:

  • Neighbours, Friends and Families – This is main English language NFF campaign website.
  • Voisin-es, ami-es et familles – This is the main French language NFF campaign website.
  • Kanayayhitowin: Taking Care of Each Others Spirit – For women in Aboriginal communities in Ontario.

Contact Person

For more information on the site, please contact:

Jolanta Nozka
tel 416-322-4950 ext 270.