Lib­er­als un­veil strat­egy on gen­der-based vi­o­lence

Plan in­cludes mil­lions for cen­tre of ex­cel­lence

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - CANADA -

The Lib­eral gov­ern­ment has un­veiled its strat­egy on gen­der­based vi­o­lence, which in­cludes cre­at­ing a cen­tre of ex­cel­lence within Sta­tus of Women Canada de­voted to un­der­stand­ing the prob­lem so they can get bet­ter at try­ing to solve it.

Sta­tus of Women Min­is­ter Maryam Mon­sef said the money will help col­lect and share na­tional data on gen­der-based vi­o­lence that other lev­els of gov­ern­ment and those on the front lines are un­able to gather on their own.

“It is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant that our ac­tions, how we spend money, the way that we de­liver pro­gram­ming, is based on knowl­edge and ev­i­dence and that we share that knowl­edge across the coun­try,” Mon­sef said in an in­ter­view Mon­day.

The Gen­der-based Vi­o­lence Knowl­edge Cen­tre, which will act as a hub to help pre­vent fed­eral de­part­ments and agen­cies from work­ing at cross pur­poses, will re­ceive $77.5 mil­lion over five years — plus $16 mil­lion a year go­ing for­ward — for re­search, data col­lec­tion and pro­gram­ming.

That makes up the ma­jor­ity of the $101 mil­lion over five years — plus $21 mil­lion an­nu­ally go­ing for­ward — the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment com­mit­ted to the gen­der-based vi­o­lence strat­egy in the March bud­get.

The rest of the money will be spread across sev­eral de­part­ments as part of a fed­eral plan aimed at pre­ven­tion, pro­vid­ing bet­ter sup­port for sur­vivors and help­ing the jus­tice sys­tem be­come more re­spon­sive to the needs of those who ex­pe­ri­ence sex­ual as­sault or other forms of vi­o­lence.

The an­nounce­ment came with some high-level an­nounce­ments — $2.4 mil­lion over five years to make sure RCMP of­fi­cers get train­ing on how to be more sen­si­tive to both gen­der and culture, for ex­am­ple — but Philippe Charlebois, a spokesman for Mon­sef, said spe­cific de­tails will come later.

Mon­sef said cre­at­ing a pic­ture of gen­der-based vi­o­lence across the coun­try that bet­ter re­flects the times — such as by study­ing is­sues like on­line vi­o­lence and ha­rass­ment — will be among the re­search pri­or­i­ties.

So will learn­ing more about dif­fer­ent impacts on di­verse pop­u­la­tions, in­clud­ing vis­i­ble mi­nori­ties, In­dige­nous Peo­ples and the LGBT com­mu­nity.

The strat­egy was de­signed to be fed­eral, not na­tional, in scope, but Mon­sef said there is much to do within her ju­ris­dic­tion.

“I think it’s crit­i­cal that we be­gin to co-or­di­nate our ef­forts across de­part­ments within the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and ad­dress the si­los that ex­ist,” she said.

She said she nonethe­less ex­pects to be able to co-or­di­nate ef­forts na­tion­wide.

Lise Martin, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of Women’s Shel­ters Canada, wel­comed that will­ing­ness to work to­gether as a first step towards a na­tional strat­egy, but said she would want to see the prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries agree to some shared goals.

“It’s about mak­ing sure that women have ac­cess to com­pa­ra­ble lev­els of ser­vices and pro­tec­tion,” she said.

New Demo­crat MP Sheila Mal­colm­son said she would have liked to see more im­me­di­ate ac­tion.

“I think the gov­ern­ment would have more cred­i­bil­ity, and the front line work­ers and women in dan­ger would feel more hope if we were see­ing a par­al­lel track of yes, re­search, but also ac­tion to mit­i­gate vi­o­lence right now,” she said.

Con­ser­va­tive MP Rona Am­brose said she was pleased to see the strat­egy in­volve more than one depart­ment, which was a goal she had when she launched a fam­ily vi­o­lence ini­tia­tive in 2015 in her pre­vi­ous role as fed­eral health min­is­ter.

“It re­ally needs to be a co-or­di­nated ap­proach,” she said.


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