In a sparsely furnished meeting room in suburban Ottawa, a group of young women sit in a circle, talking quietly. Outside, you can tell spring is on the way.
The women are members of Young Women at Risk, a weekly support group for women who have experienced violence. Each Thursday, they meet in a former classroom of a converted school, now an outreach centre for young mothers. The room contains a few chairs, a children’s playhouse in primary colours, two diaper change tables, and a folding table with an urn of stale coffee. The sound of children on their way to the playground can be heard echoing out in the hallway.