Mcguinty Government Launches New Action Plan On Domestic Violence
Proactive Plan Puts New Emphasis On Prevention And Better Community Support For Abused Women And Their Children
QUEEN'S PARK -- Enhanced counselling and housing supports for victims, more training for front-line workers, improvements to the justice system and an innovative public education campaign are all part of the government's new comprehensive action plan on domestic violence against women and children, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced today.
"Women and children have the right to live free of fear and violence, especially in their homes," said Premier McGuinty. "The action plan we're announcing today is a major step forward that places a new emphasis on preventing abuse before it happens and supporting victims when it does happen."
Sandra Pupatello, the Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, stressed that domestic violence is everyone's concern.
"We all share a responsibility for the protection and safety of women in abusive situations. Our plan brings together a wide range of partners to improve public awareness, change attitudes and help break the cycle of violence," Pupatello said.
The four-year plan includes:
- $56 million to provide better community supports for victims, including enhanced counselling services and second-stage housing supports
- $5.9 million to train front-line workers, professionals, families, neighbours and friends to recognize early signs of abuse and help victims get the information and support they need
- A $4.9 million major public education and prevention campaign, designed to change attitudes and mobilize communities to stop violence before it happens
- Improvements to Ontario's criminal and family justice system to better protect women and their children and hold abusers accountable for their violent behaviour.
The plan will also target programs and services to meet the needs of women in diverse, at-risk communities.
"We are pleased that the Ontario government is taking action and that its plan includes strengthening community organizations, building public awareness and involving a broad range of services, sectors and partners," said Margot Franssen, co-President of the Canadian Women's Foundation.
The Domestic Violence Action Plan was developed following consultation with more than 180 experts and front-line workers from across the province, and with collaboration among the 13 government ministries that deliver programs and services related to domestic violence.
"Our government's plan for Ontario is all about strengthening our province by strengthening our people," said Premier McGuinty.
"Women can't build the lives they deserve when they live with the threat of violence or the reality of physical and emotional abuse. And children can't reach their full potential when they fear what happens in their own homes. This is a plan to protect and support them."