Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence

Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, Pam Damoff
Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence

About the Author

Pam Damoff

Pam Damoff

Pam Damoff, a politician, community activist and business professional with over 25 years’ corporate experience on Bay Street, was elected to represent the riding of Oakville North-Burlington in the House of Commons in the 2015 federal election. Prior to the election, Pam served as an Oakville Town Councillor from 2010-2015.

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Many Canadians still face violence every day simply because of their gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender. It’s time for that to change. The Government of Canada is taking action to prevent and address gender-based violence (GBV) with the announcement of Canada’s strategy called “It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence.”

Gender-based violence is a serious public health issue with immediate and long-lasting consequences on the physical and mental health of survivors, and with social consequences for families, communities and society as a whole. It’s Time will invest in concrete measures to prevent, support and better respond to this issue across Canada.

It’s time for a whole-of-government approach to prevent and address this form of violence that includes all of government with new investments from Status of Women Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Safety Canada, the Department of National Defense, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

It’s Time builds on federal initiatives already underway and coordinates existing programs. It lays the foundation for greater action and is based on three pillars that will improve Canada’s overall response to GBV: prevention; support for survivors and their families; and the promotion of responsive legal and justice systems.

It will fill important gaps in support for diverse populations which includes but is not limited to: women and girls, Indigenous people, LGBTQ2 persons, gender non-conforming people, those living in northern, rural, and remote communities, people with disabilities, newcomers, children and youth, and seniors. Men and boys will also be engaged in awareness initiatives. Which is critically important to move forward.

Budget 2017 included $100.9 million over five years, and $20.7 million per year thereafter, to go towards the implementation of It’s Time. This will include the creation of the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) – Knowledge Centre within Status of Women Canada. The Knowledge Centre will better align existing resources across government and support the development and sharing of research and data to enable more coordinated action on GBV.

“Gender-based violence remains a significant yet preventable barrier to equality. Canada will only reach its full potential when everyone has the opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are or where they come from,” said Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women. “To achieve this, we need to work together to prevent gender-based violence. It’s time to believe survivors; it’s time to gain more knowledge about this problem; it’s time to invest in solutions. It’s time to act.”

Minister Monsef worked with her advisory council on gender-based violence and received recommendations from the Standing Committee on the Status of Women to develop “It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence”. The Standing Committee recently tabled its report, Taking Action to End Violence Against Young Women and Girls in Canada, which proposed 45 recommendations to the government for areas of action on this issue and other issues related to violence against young women and girls and supports the development of the federal government’s current and planned actions on the issue of gender-based violence.

While conducting its study, the Standing Committee heard first-hand that gender-based violence remains a reality for many Canadian women and girls. Some of the most moving testimony the Committee heard was from Leah Parsons, the mother of Rehtaeh Parsons. Ms. Parsons told the Committee that even though she taught Rehtaeh how to protect herself from abuse, it ultimately did not save her because no one had had those conversations with the boys who sexually assaulted her. That’s why it’s so important that we continue to engage men and boys in ending gender-based violence, and I am so glad to see our government taking action in this regard.

Today, we are re-affirming our commitment to preventing gender-based violence while supporting survivors with Canada’s strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence. We know that living a life free of violence is a basic human right, but far too many women and girls endure gender-based violence in their lifetimes. Ensuring the safety and security of women and girls is a priority for our government, and I am so pleased that the work of our Committee is reflected in the coordinated, collaborative, and evidence-based approach to this issue which will contribute towards Canada being a safer place to live for all of us.

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