For too many Canadians, violence is a real—sometimes daily—threat. This is especially true for women.
Statistics Canada reports that six percent of Canadian women currently live or have lived in the past five years in a spousal relationship where they encounter spousal violence. The majority of spousal abuse victims are women, accounting for eighty-three percent. Nine out of ten of victims of criminal harassment by a spouse are female.
Although there has been a decline in overall violence in Canada over the past 30 years, women are still more likely than men to experience certain types of violence, from cyber-bullying to harassment and to domestic abuse. Gender-based violence remains a significant barrier to gender equality. It is preventable.
Violence affects people from all backgrounds, with Indigenous women, children and youth, and LGBTQ2 and gender non-conforming people at greater risk of experiencing gender-based violence.
“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 live. 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 for the federal government to answer the call for greater leadership.”The Hon. Maryam MonsefMinister of Status of Women
It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence is the Government of Canada’s response to gender-based violence (GBV). It builds on current federal initiatives, coordinates existing programs and lays the foundation for greater action on GBV.
The Strategy is based on three pillars:
- Support for survivors and their families; and
- Promotion of responsive legal and justice systems.
The Strategy will fill gaps in support for diverse populations, which could include: women and girls, Indigenous people, LGBTQ2 members, 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 activities.
As part of the Strategy, the Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre will be created within Status of Women Canada to better align government resources and enable the sharing and development of research into GBV. $77.5 million of funding has been committed by the Government of Canada over five years, and $16 million per year ongoing, for the creation of the GBV Knowledge Centre, data collection and research, and programming.
As part of a whole-of-government approach to addressing gender-based violence, we are also making important investments in the following areas:
- $9.5 million over five years, and $2 million per year ongoing, to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support implementing and testing ways to prevent GBV, including child maltreatment and teen dating violence;
- $6 million over five years, and $1.3 million per year ongoing, to Public Safety Canada to enhance efforts to address online child exploitation;
- $4 million over five years, and $0.8 million per year ongoing, to the Department of National Defence to increase funding for Family Crisis Teams, to support members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families affected by violence;
- $2.4 million over five years, and $0.6 million per year ongoing, to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for cultural competency training for federal law enforcement officers; and
- $1.5 million over five years to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to enhance the Settlement Program.
Whether it is an immigrant woman living in Vancouver, a young woman on campus in Hamilton, a woman with a disability in Moncton, or an Inuit girl in Cambridge Bay — GBV affects everyone differently, and there are some populations that are at greater risk than others. It’s Time will consider all of these factors and put forward actions tailored to the unique needs and experiences of Canada’s diverse populations.
We all have a role to play in addressing GBV. Together, we will succeed in making Canada safer and more inclusive for all and, in so doing, save future generations by stopping GBV before it starts.