Ontario Launches New Strategy to End Gender-Based Violence
Comprehensive Investments Will Support Survivors and Address the Root Causes of Violence
Ontario is building on its commitment to create a province free from domestic and sexual violence by launching a new strategy that will help support survivors and end the cycle of violence.
Harinder Malhi, Minister of the Status of Women, was joined by Michael Coteau, Minister of Community and Social Services, and Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General in Toronto today to launch It's Never Okay: Ontario's Gender-Based Violence Strategy.
This comprehensive new strategy will help survivors and families get the support they need, when they need it, as well as help to prevent violence by intervening early. The strategy will focus on four key areas:
- Improving services and supports for survivors, families and communities. Support services like counselling will be expanded, as well as access to emergency shelters, transitional housing and Indigenous shelters and healing lodges.
- Intervening early and effectively to help youth who have seen or experienced violence by providing consistent and flexible supports for children who find themselves in shelters and greatly reducing the waitlist for the Child Witness program.
- Changing attitudes and norms through public education, along with training for service providers, communities and bystanders so they can recognize and respond to gender-based violence.
- Improving the justice system response by providing free legal advice to survivors of sexual assault. In addition, alternate justice options for survivors of gender-based violence that are trauma-informed and survivor-centred will be explored in partnership with the violence against women sector.
Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- It’s Never Okay: Ontario’s Gender-based Violence Strategy is an up to $242-million framework that will build on the government’s work in the Domestic Violence Action Plan, It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment, Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women and Ontario's Strategy to End Human Trafficking
- To help develop the strategy, the province held 15 engagement sessions and heard from more than 200 agencies that help people who have experienced gender-based violence, as well as people with lived experience and Indigenous partners.
- Gender-based violence is any form of violence that is based on an individual’s gender, gender expression or gender identity and is intended to control, and harm the individual. Gender-based violence can affect anyone.
- The majority of people affected by gender-based violence are women and children. Indigenous women, racialized women, new Canadians, women in rural and northern communities, transgender/gender non-conforming people, persons with disabilities, and sex trade workers are at even higher risk.
- The award-winning multi-media public education campaign to prevent sexual violence and harassment titled #WhoWillYouHelp launched as part of It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment in 2015.
- Join the conversation to end gender-based violence by using #ItsNeverOkay on Twitter.
- How you can identify and help women at risk of abuse.
“Ontario has made significant progress toward ending gender-based violence — awareness is higher than ever, perspectives are changing, and more people are coming forward for support and services. That’s why we’re launching It’s Never Okay: Ontario’s Gender-based Violence Strategy, to guide our work toward a province where everyone is safe.”
“We have listened to agencies and to people with real life experience who told us Ontario needs a consistent, comprehensive and sustained strategy to prevent violence against women and to support survivors. Across Ontario, this new strategy will help people get the supports they need to build a safer life for themselves and their children.””
“Gender-based violence is heinous, completely unacceptable, and must be stopped. But actions speak louder than words, and that’s why it’s so important we have an actionable and comprehensive strategy in place. Our plan not only includes vital services and supports that help survivors recover and heal, but it also works to ensure our justice system is more accessible to survivors and responsive to their unique needs.”