History of IWAV

Our organization was created in response to a horrific incidence of violence against a woman and her daughter in our community a number of years ago. A small group of women came together and chose to take this incident as a ‘wake-up call’ for action. The formation of our society is an example of the positive energy that can rise out of such tragedy.

This organization was originally registered under the Society Act of B.C. on December 16, 1992 with the name “Saltspring Women Opposed to Violence and Abuse (SWOVA)” and received the Registration number S-29883. On May 8, 1997 the organization filed for a “Certificate of Change of Name” under the Society Act and became the “Gulf Island Women’s Resource Network”. At that time, another organization was created that continued to use the “SWOVA” name and acquired a separate Registration Number under the Society Act of B.C. To this day, these two separate organizations continue to work in a complementary manner in the community.

The “Gulf Island Women’s Resource Network” later filed for a minor change to its name on April 26, 2000 to become the “Gulf Islands Women Resource Network”.

More recently, in July 2005, it officially changed its name to become “Island Women Against Violence”. The Society felt this name more accurately reflected the mandate of the organization.


On Salt Spring Island, since July 1994, IWAV’s 24-Hour Crisis Line has provided intervention service, support and information, immediate referrals and support to medical, police and court systems as well as other relevant resources. This service links to the provincial network of safe places for women.

In April 1995, a house was donated by a woman resident of Salt Spring Island to be used as a transition house for women. The transition house and crisis line services survived for several years on private donations and several lump sum grants from the BC Ministry of Women’s Equality. Many volunteers dedicated themselves to establishing this service in the community and in November of 1998, ongoing operational funding was received from that Ministry (now known as BC Housing) to operate the transition house and crisis line.

In November 1997, IWAV’s “Transitions” a social enterprise, community-based thrift store, was organized by an enterprising Board member as a way to raise funds on an ongoing basis to help support the transition house and other services of the organization.

In 2006, IWAV was successful in a tender to operate the Stopping The Violence Service programs; the Stopping the Violence Counselling for Women, the Children Who Witness Abuse Counselling program for Children and youth ages 3-18, and Women’s Outreach Services which offers a range of support services to all of the Southern Gulf Islands. Funding commenced and programs became operational in May 2007. These programs are funded currently by the Ministry of Justice (formerly named the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, and the Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services).

‘The Cedars’: In July, 2012, in partnership with the Salt Spring Island Abbeyfield housing society, IWAV purchased an existing home on a three-acre property to provide second stage transitional housing and support for women, and women with children, as well as permanent housing for low-income senior women.

Croftonbrook: In the fall of 2014, IWAV was approached to take over management and operations of Croftonbrook housing for seniors. This transfer took place in February, 2015. Croftonbrook is a 20 unit affordable housing project for low income seniors and persons with disabilities, who are able to live independently. This project is subsidized by BC Housing.


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