Archway Society History
Archway Society for Domestic Peace provides a wide range of supportive services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence through safe shelter, counselling, child and youth advocacy, outreach services, and collaborative community projects. Formerly Vernon Women’s Transition House Society, Archway Society has deep roots in the North Okanagan.
The concept for the Society arose in 1975 when a group of local women got together to plan an International Women’s Year celebration. They recognized a need in the community and through their efforts , a women’s centre was opened in early July of that year.
As more women in the community were coming forward about the abuse they were experiencing, and having nowhere to go for safety, it became increasingly apparent that a transition house was needed in the Vernon area. The residential facility was opened in the old United Church Manse on 27th Street in 1976. Community and service groups were generous and the house was equipped with the amenities needed to house women and children fleeing abuse.
In 1993 the Society purchased a lot and the community of Vernon raised over $750,000 to build a new Transition House. The Transition House continues to be a safe place for women and children fleeing abuse and also houses teen and parole bed programs.
The Society also owns Casimir Court, an apartment building, which has housed the Support to Young Parents Program since the early 2000’s. This program continues to serve pregnant and parenting young mothers with supportive programming in a residential setting.
Outside of the residential programs, the Society has several counselling and justice-related programs. The Society holds contracts to provide Community-based Victims Services, Stopping the Violence counselling, PEACE children’s counselling, Outreach Services for women and Legal Service Society community outreach. These services are provided in Vernon, Armstrong and Enderby and reach women and children throughout the North Okanagan.
In 2015, through a collaborative partnership with RCMP, Ministry of Children and Family Development and local non-profits, the Society opened Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre which responds to disclosures of child abuse and sexual assault.
Also in 2015, the Society added the Homelessness Prevention Program. This program works with women who are at risk of violence and homelessness and the objective is to assist the clients to access and maintain stable housing.
In addition to our own programs we collaborate with other social services and justice partners to develop and implement responses to domestic and sexual violence. We are co-founders and leading partners in Vernon’s Sexual Assault Service and the Integrated Case Management Team for highest risk domestic violence and have led the North Okanagan Violence Against Women Committee for more than 25 years.
Archway Society for Domestic Peace continues to evolve as a full-service agency that provides wrap around support to survivors of domestic and sexual abuse and empowers women and children to lead lives with dignity and respect. We could not do this work without the close partnerships that we have and the financial support of our community.