New Initiatives to Raise Awareness, Enhance Prevention and Support Victims of Sexual Violence and Harassment
Enhancing Public Awareness
In early 2015, the government will launch a multi-media public education campaign to:
- Challenge norms and behaviours around sexual violence and harassment. The goal of the campaign is to minimize hurtful behaviour, skepticism and myths around sexual violence.
- Raise awareness of the supports available to victims of sexual violence and harassment. While most victims know they can report a sexual assault to police, not all victims want to make a formal complaint. The campaign will raise awareness of additional services and supports in the legal, health and mental health systems that are available to victims of sexual violence and harassment.
Holding Ourselves to Account
The government caucus is examining its own policies, procedures and training around workplace discrimination and harassment prevention (WDHP) and workplace violence prevention (WVP). Ministers' Office and Premier's Office staff members have completed the WDHP Policy and WVP Policy training provided by the Ontario Public Service.
In early 2015, the government will:
- Require all government MPPs to participate in sexual assault and harassment training before the Legislature resumes in February.
- Provide additional training for Premier's Office, Ministers' Office and government MPPs' staff that reflects the unique dynamics of the political workplace.
- Review government caucus harassment policies and procedures to ensure they conform to best practices.
Premier Wynne will also approach the Speaker to discuss making harassment prevention training available to all MPPs.
Standing Roundtable on Violence Against Women
The Premier has asked the Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, Tracy MacCharles, to convene a sector Roundtable on Violence Against Women. The Roundtable will provide a forum for the thoughtful, experienced women and men who have made safety and equality their life's work to provide input into the government's initiatives.
Improving Support for Victims of Sexual Violence and Harassment
Premier Wynne has asked all Ministers to explore ways to improve support for victims of sexual violence and harassment. In addition, she has directed several Ministers to bring forward options to enhance support for victims of sexual violence in specific areas. Work in these areas will begin immediately and result in an action plan to be brought forward by March 8, 2015, International Women's Day.
The Premier has asked:
- Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur to review existing practices and improve support for victims in the criminal justice system. While Canada has strong rape shield laws, many victims who testify in court experience re-victimization. The Attorney General will also work with the Law Society of Upper Canada and law schools to ensure that lawyers and those training to be lawyers uphold Canada's rape shield laws, in both spirit and in execution. The Attorney General will also propose options in the justice system to better support victims of sexual assault and harassment.
- Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Yasir Naqvi to review best practices of law enforcement around the world and advance options for a victim-focused strategy. Minister Naqvi will also review the training delivered at the Ontario Police College and, working with experts in the violence against women sector, ensure that law enforcement is doing its part to make the criminal justice system safer for victims. This includes ensuring that police training addresses and shifts norms and myths around sexual violence and victims.
- Labour Minister Kevin Flynn to explore ways to enhance Ontario's current workplace discrimination and harassment legislation to further protect and support healthy and safe workplaces.
- Education Minister Liz Sandals to finalize a new health and physical education curriculum that gets at some of the root causes of gender inequality, and starts at the very earliest stages to develop an understanding of healthy relationships and consent.
- Training, Colleges and Universities Minister Reza Moridi to work with colleges and universities to support current programs and develop options to address and reverse the prevalence of sexual assault on post-secondary school campuses. This includes raising awareness and enhancing prevention of sexual violence on campuses, as well as improving support services for victims.
- Health and Long-Term Care Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins to examine best practices in sexual assault/domestic violence treatment centres to support a client-centred approach for outreach, treatment and response to the physical and mental health needs of individuals who have experienced violence.