NUPGE is urging all Canadians to write, call, and email federal leaders and ask them to commit both to the debate and including a National Action Plan on violence against women in their platforms.
Ottawa (09 Aug. 2019) ― In 2015, the Women's Shelters Canada and their collaborators, which includes the National Union of Public and General Employees created A Blueprint for Canada’s National Action Plan on Violence Against Women and Girls. A call was put out to all parties running in the federal election to include the creation and implementation of a National Action Plan (NAP) on Violence against Women (VAW) in their platforms. With the next federal election almost upon us – and no sign of a NAP in sight – Up for Debate (a pan-Canadian conversation on women’s rights and gender justice) is renewing the call to all federal parties.
Calls for a NAP on VAW echoed from multiple organizations
Since the publication of the Blueprint in February 2015, there have been some significant developments in research on violence against women in Canada. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report and Calls to Action, which include #41, “We call upon the federal government, in consultation with Aboriginal organizations, to appoint a public inquiry into the causes of, and remedies for, the disproportionate victimization of Aboriginal women and girls.”
The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (NIMMIWG) also released its final report which includes a Call for Justice for the creation of a “National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.” The report also calls for an Anti-Racism and an Anti-Sexism National Action Plan.
New research reinforces the need for a NAP
From the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s research we know that every day more than 3,300 women and 3,000 children are forced to stay in an emergency shelter to escape violence. We know that arrests stemming from domestic violence account for 12% of all violent crime in Canada, but since only 22% of all domestic violence incidents are reported to police, the real number is much higher.
Similarly, 67% of Canadians know a woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse, but less than 10% of all sexual assaults are reported to the police. And from the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability’s report we know that in 2018, 148 women and girls were killed by violence in Canada – a rate of 1 death every 2.5 days. Those numbers have been consistent for four decades.
Risk of violence increases for women in vulnerable groups
We also know that the risk of violence goes up for women of colour, LGBTQ+ persons, women with disabilities, and women from other vulnerable groups. From the NIMMIWG, we know that Indigenous women and girls are 16 times more likely to be murdered or to disappear than white women and 12 times more likely to be murdered or go missing than any other demographic group in Canada.
Canadians need to push for action
This is only a sample of the research and recommendations that have come out since 2015 and indicate Canada is still in need of a NAP on VAW. NUPGE endorses the renewed call for a NAP on VAW to be included in all federal party platforms. The last federal leaders’ debate on women’s rights took place in the federal election of 1984. So far, only the leaders of the NDP and Green Party have committed to a debate on women’s issues ahead of the 2019 election. We urge all Canadians to write, call, and email the remaining federal leaders and ask them to commit both to the debate and including a NAP on VAW in their platforms.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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