ABout High Risk Navigation Project

The High Risk Navigation Project (HRN) Project is tasked with the development of a dedicated, advocacy-based and common protocol across legal and social service systems to respond to cases of gender-based violence (GBV) where there is high risk of harm. The overarching goal of the HRN Project is to develop a more coordinated and effective social system response for those who experience GBV in the Thunder Bay district. 


The HRN Project aims to: 

  • Develop protocol and training for those who respond to women at high risk of harm from GBV
  • Coordinate formal training by recognized experts for legal and service system personnel including core concepts of anti-racism and anti-oppression, as well as the impacts of colonization, intersectionality, cultural safety and gender-based analysis
  • Present the latest research on gender-based violence theory and practice which includes the use of minimizing/mutualizing language, perpetrator pattern approaches, coercive control and trauma informed approaches
  • Build working connections, share expertise and provide training and knowledge exchange between women’s anti-violence advocates and legal system players 
  • Design a process that puts women who experience GBV at the centre of the systemic response using dedicated advocacy position(s) through trusted intermediaries. This community-based advocate, or “High Risk Navigator” would work with women across legal and social sectors to ensure they have appropriate support, referrals and ongoing, effective safety planning that is trauma informed, uses anti-oppression and anti-racism frameworks and recognizes the impacts of colonialism.


We recognize that the existing systemic response to GBV is not accessible to many women, and often revictimizes or criminalizes women when it does respond. The HRN Project addresses the need for equitable access to resources and services for women who are survivors of GBV. It will also address the strong need for a permanent women’s advocate to coordinate high risk cases of GBV. Finally, the HRN Project aims to bring attention to structural gaps in the systemic response to GBV, with the aim to support survivors and reduce re-traumatization. 

Results of the HRN Project’s survey conducted in 2020 can be viewed here.

The High Risk Protocol for the Thunder Bay District is in consultation with an advisory committee of anti-violence women’s advocates and community service providers, including members of the Thunder Bay and District Coordinating Committee to End Woman Abuse. The HRN Project is funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario and coordinated by the Northwestern Ontario Women’s Centre, in partnership with the Thunder Bay and District Coordinating Committee to End Women Abuse.  

For more information on the HRN Project, please contact [email protected].  

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