Taking Action Against Sexual Violence and Harassment
Premier Kathleen Wynne Announces Initiatives to Raise Awareness, Enhance Prevention and Support Victims of Sexual Violence and Harassment
Premier Kathleen Wynne today announced a package of initiatives to raise awareness of sexual violence and harassment, enhance prevention initiatives to combat sexual discrimination, harassment and violence, and improve support for victims.
The initiatives include: a public education campaign; measures to improve government caucus policies, procedures and training; the creation of a standing Roundtable on Violence Against Women; and work across several ministries to improve support for victims of sexual violence.
In early 2015, the government will launch a multi-media public education campaign to:
- Challenge norms, behaviours and myths around sexual violence and harassment
- Raise awareness of the supports available to victims of sexual violence and harassment, beyond the criminal justice system.
As a result of recent high-profile public reports of workplace harassment, the government caucus has examined 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. Early in 2015, the government will:
- Require all government MPPs to participate in sexual assault and harassment training
- Provide all Premier's Office, Ministers' Office and government MPPs' staff with training specifically designed for the political workplace
- Review government caucus harassment policies and procedures to ensure they conform with best practices.
Premier Wynne will also approach the Speaker to discuss making harassment prevention training available to all MPPs.
The Premier has asked the Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, Tracy MacCharles, to build on the work of the Ontario Women's Directorate to convene a sector Roundtable on Violence Against Women. The Roundtable will provide a forum for experts on safety and equality to provide input into the government's initiatives.
Premier Wynne has asked all Ministers to explore ways to improve support for victims of sexual violence and harassment. In addition, she has directed specific Ministers to bring forward options to enhance support for victims of sexual violence relating to the criminal justice system, policing, health care, education, post-secondary campuses and Ontario workplaces. 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.
- It is estimated that one in three Canadian women will experience sexual assault in her adult life.
- Fewer than 10 per cent of sexual assaults are reported to police.
- Almost two-thirds of queer and trans students feel unsafe at school.
“Sexual violence and harassment is a reality in every community in this province. In every workplace, every campus, every context, we can and must do better.”
“Twenty-five years ago on December 6, 14 women were senselessly murdered at Montreal’s École Polytechnique. A quarter of a century later, violence remains prevalent in the lives of far too many women and girls. As the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, it’s important to me that women in Ontario feel safe in their homes, in the workplace and in their communities and we will continue to work closely with community organizations on initiatives aimed at preventing violence, improving the justice system response and providing better supports for victims.”