With a mission to empower racialized, immigrant and refugee women and their families, a women center in Riverdale, Hamilton, has launched a new Islamophobia Support Line to provide counselling support for victims of religious, racial and culture-based violence.
The Riverdale Immigrant Women Centre (RIWC) support line offers “confidential and independent supportive counselling service for women and youth who self-identify as Muslim and have experienced hate crime incidences and need someone to talk to,” Muslim Link reported.
“Our team of Peer Counsellors have been trained by Gernstein Crisis Centre to provide short-term crisis counseling support for our callers,” it added.
The counsellors also offer a range of wraparound support services to help Muslim women and youth with settlement, housing, anti-violence support and other relevant services.
The trained volunteers would help callers demystify the reporting process, connect Muslim women and youth with community resources, and offer a safe space to connect with others in the community who are here to help.
Established in 1982, RIWC delivers its services through a holistic and integrated service framework that addresses the social, cultural and economic determinants of healthy and vibrant immigrant communities.
RIWC achieves its mission through the delivery of the following settlement, anti-violence and employment support programs.
Islamophobic attacks across Canada have risen at alarming levels. The attacks have increased in frequency, many are targeting visibly Muslim women and girls.
Hate crimes targeting Muslims have significantly increased last year according to a report released by Statistics Canada in August 2022.
The report said police reported 3,360 hate crimes last year, an increase from 2,646 in 2020.