A major portion of the Assaulted Women's and Children's Counsellor/Advocate program is the fieldwork component.
"The AWCCA Program helped me to further my career in the field. Using a feminist anti-oppression analysis and working with women from that framework is what makes my work so empowering and so inspiring. The program's feminist framework really affects the way that I approach people as well as issues that arise on a work-team.
The AWCCA Program has changed my life both personally and professionally. The theoretical framework and skills I acquired through the program was what really helped me to secure my employment and is pivotal to all I do now. The AWCCA program rocks!"
-- Pina Grosso Year of 1997
Program Manager, Sexual Assault Centre for Peel Region
I. Purpose Of Field Work Practice
The purpose of fieldwork practice is to provide an ongoing experience in which a student will be able to apply their classroom based theoretical knowledge to the practical environment of the field agency. Each student will be in a direct, supervised placement in a community agency while they are engaged in their formal academic studies. Learning goals and job descriptions are clarified, reflected upon and evaluated in co-operation with the placement supervisor and the faculty advisor. The student's involvement in the agency work provides the opportunity for the application and practice of the knowledge, skills and attitude development gained in the classroom. In the accompanying Field Seminar, techniques of self-assessment, relationship-building, co-operative problem solving, and self-care will be discussed in response to professional and ethical issues as they arise in current student placements. Participants also explore strategies for ongoing personal and career development.
II. Hours Of Field Work Practice
Full time students are available for placement as follows:
- Year 1: January through April on Monday and Tuesday - (200 hours)
- Year 2: September through April on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday - (600 hours)
- Part time/Continuing Education students: contract, on an individual basis, is to complete 2 field placements of 400 hours each. These may take place on a variety of days depending on the agreements made between the agency, the student and the faculty advisor.
III. Learning Outcomes Of Field Work Practice
- Placement 1: Generally, a first year student would not be asked to carry a one-to-one client load. A first year student experience will include education, observation, and advocacy opportunities. One-to-one counseling and group opportunities should occur as part of a second year student placement.
- Placement 2: The second fieldwork experience will build on skills practiced in first placement. One to one counseling (formal and /or informal) and group facilitation opportunities should be part of a second placement.
AWCCA classes emphasize participatory learning and group interaction as a way to develop greater insight into the personal, institutional and cultural systems that intersect and support violence in our society. Program themes include the feminist theory and practice of group and individual counselling intervention with women and children who have experienced violence, feminist political action and cross cultural community building using an anti-oppression framework, and local and global social policy analysis. Weekly Field Seminar classes while students are in placement allow for solving problems in response to professional and ethical issues as they arise in the field.
The AWCCA faculty team is recognized leaders and activists in the field and is often called upon to assist with policy development, curriculum design and training projects organized by government, community agencies and international bodies. In the classroom, they draw upon their grassroots and other organizational experience in designing and delivering a rich curriculum that integrates feminist theory and practice. The entire AWCCA faculty maintains involvement with local feminist initiatives and several have included provincial, national and international initiatives in their work. Sandra Fishleigh and Mandy Bonisteel developed community trauma support counselling in Kosovo in 2000. In 1997, Sandra Fishleigh and Lorraine Gauthier prepared curriculum materials in English and French for use across Ontario's community college system. Marilyn Oladimeji was invited to present a paper on Feminist Political Action at the Singapore Conference on Domestic Violence in 1999. Mandy Bonisteel has recently completed a curriculum for the Association of Children's Aid Societies of Ontario on supporting children who have been witnesses of violence as well as developed training for Family Medicine Nurses in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The URL for "MEASURING EMPOWERMENT - The Application of an Empowerment Model to Nursing Development in Bosnia and Herzegovina" is: http://www.gbrownc.on.ca/nursing/empowerment.pdf
Field Placement Agencies
The agencies used by the program for field placements are very similar to those employing our graduates. In many instances, employers hire graduates because of contact and experience with them through the fieldwork placement. Most agencies are within Toronto and some agencies, located in other communities such as Hamilton, Barrie, Pickering and Oshawa, are used for students who live there.
Examples of AWCCA placements include:
- Adolescent Substance Abuse Program (S.C.H)
- Assaulted Women's Helpline
- Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
- Education Wife Assault
- Fred Victor Shelter for Women
- GLBT Youth Line
- Interval House
- North York Women's Centre
- Peel Rape Cushion Center
- Redirection Through Education (George Brown College)
- Red Door Shelter
- Stop 86
- Victim Witness Assistance Programs
- Youthlink Madison Residence
Upon successful completion of academic and field placement requests students will graduate with an Assaulted Women and Children's Counsellor/Advocate Program Diploma.