Jan Richardson and Kathryn Babcock
The Courage to Click
Technology and compassion may seem an unlikely match, but Jan Richardson and Kathryn Babcock have made it a match that works. Shelternet for abused women grew out of a need to respond to the growing number of women who were seeking information online and of shelters’ needs to increase their online presence while still offering anonymity and helpful information.
Jan and Kathryn understand all too well the obstacles facing abused women and their children. Far too many women fear for their lives, their well-being, their safety, their health and that of their children, and the control used against them are an everyday reality. While many women and their children use shelter services, many others don’t know that there is help available. In many cases, women live in silence, believing there is no safe place or direction to take.
Recognizing the need for anonymity and working in partnership with many groups, Jan and Kathryn developed a site that supports a secure online environment. A key section of the web site offers information on how to hide Internet activities. The site was designed to be easy to use and provides a clickable map of Canada showing the locations of shelters and their 24-hour helplines, which provide an essential and personalized response to women. For shelters providing services to abused women and their children, Shelternet provides, at no cost, web site hosting and web site design.
Jan and Kathryn have been diligent in their efforts to support abused women and their children and believe in the spirit of collaboration and partnership. They will continue to combine their unique experiences and background to work toward a better, safer world for abused women and their children. This year the Shelternet site will be translated into 25 languages and will develop solutions for providing online information, support and referral for women. The work of Shelternet has been inspired by a quote from Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world: indeed it’s the only thing that ever has."