The Big Hill Haven Women's Shelter is launching Phase Two of its 'Supporting the Supporters' series.

The premise behind the online panels is to provide training resources to informal supporters throughout the community.

 The first phase launched back in May of this year and Fund Development Officer of the Big Hill Haven, Tara McFadden says it proved to be a success.

"A lot of great conversations and knowledge was gained. We're quite proud of it," says McFadden. "The goal is to engage an everyday average person, not professionals that are already engaged but being a support for a friend or maybe you work in a hair salon and people are telling you stuff."

Participants in the program will access the tools needed to respond, recognize and then refer victims of abuse to the appropriate resources. Like Phase One of the program, the Forum is open to the general public, with the first of the series taking place on September 22.

"This is going to be a panel of participants and survivors," explains McFadden. "Talking about having a better understanding of how to support somebody who has been impacted by domestic violence."

Big Hill Haven believes that every member of our community has something valuable and informative to add to this conversation and an opportunity to be part of the solution. McFadden says that the second panel which is scheduled for October 20  is geared specifically toward men and boys.

"This is perhaps the one that we'd like to see the most traction on," explains McFadden. "To have the men and boys in our community feel comfortable in joining this online panel and just build the awareness on how they can be part of the solution."

While it's most often women that are directly impacted by domestic violence, McFadden says that the effects are felt by the entire community.

The third panel is scheduled for November 24 and participants will have an opportunity to hear Melody Bundt speak out about her journey through Domestic Violence.

All Forums will take place on Zoom and they are free of charge. Anyone interested in registering can do so here.