With the election of a Liberal government, there is an opportunity to correct many of the harmful measures instituted under the previous Conservative government.
Ottawa (25 Nov. 2015) — Each year since 1981, women have marked November 25 as a day against violence. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo.
The United Nations officially designated the date in December 1999 and invited governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations to organize activities that were designed to raise public awareness of the problem.
Violence against women the result of many underlying issues
Through the National Union of Public and General Employees' (NUPGE) All Together Now! campaign focusing on income inequality, we know that the problem of violence against women is is mad worse when critical supports are missing: a lack of safe and affordable housing, inaccessible education and training, a low wage strategy, and a lack of public services like child care and those that assist women experiencing workplace or domestic violence.
At a time in Canada when we are seeing reports of growing income inequality and poverty, assaults in the workplace and at post-secondary institutions, and the closing or privatizing of public services, the need to act is stronger than ever. In fact, a study released on November 23, 2015, revealed that men who kill their wives, girlfriends or other female family members are handed shorter prison terms than men who kill strangers. We need to seize every opportunity to put these issues on the front burner.
New government can take steps to correct harm done by Conservative policies
With the election of a Liberal government, there is an opportunity to correct many of the harmful measures that were instituted under the previous Conservative government. Prime Minister Trudeau and Liberal candidates campaigned on specific promises that can improve the lives of women and their families:
- Develop and implement a comprehensive federal gender-violence strategy and action plans (aligned with the work done by the provinces)
- Increase investments in growing and maintaining Canada's network of shelters and transition houses as part of the broader investment in social infrastructure
Canada needs a National Action Plan on Violence against Women
The Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses, with its supporters like NUPGE, has developed a BluePrint or a road map to be used create Canada's National Action Plan on Violence Against Women (NAP on VAW). The Blueprint outlines what a NAP on VAW would look like, including a suggested process to develop and implement the action plan and the key elements. Some key elements are prevention measures, service responses, legal and justice responses and social policy responses.
Specifically the Network is urging the federal government to reinstate the Shelter Echancement Program as an important first step in esuring that women and children have access to safety. Access to affordable housing and child care are also key pillars in the fight to end violence against women.
NUPGE urges federal government to ensure safety for women and children across Canada
"The National Union joins with the Canadian Network of Women's Shelters and Transition Houses in urging the federal government to move quickly on these measures to ensure the safety of women and children, no matter where they live," said James Clancy, NUPGE National President. "Women were treated as second-class citizens under the last government, now is the time to make a meaningful difference."
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE