Concrete Measures to End Sexual Violence and Harassment
Premier Kathleen Wynne Unveils New Action Plan
Queens Park - The Ontario government has released It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment. The ground-breaking plan outlines concrete steps to help change attitudes, provide more supports for survivors, and make workplaces and campuses safer and more responsive to complaints about sexual violence and harassment. The government has committed $41 million over three years to support the plan’s implementation. “Sexual violence and harassment are shockingly prevalent in our society. Our Action Plan is a leap forward in ending both. It asks bystanders to get involved, parents and teachers to seed generational change, employers to ensure safe working environments, and communities to deliver strengthened services and supports for survivors. Together, we can make Ontario safer and more equitable for women and girls,", said Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues.
In December 2014, Premier Kathleen Wynne called for stronger action against sexual violence and harassment and directed a group of ministers to put forward measures to address the issue. The Premier launched the action plan Friday at the YWCA in Toronto. “As a woman, ending sexual violence and harassment is a cause I feel strongly about and as a leader, it is also one I know is right for Ontario. Our action plan is an affirmation that everyone in this province deserves dignity, equality and respect, and is a clarion call to all Ontarians to help end misogyny so that everyone can live free from sexual violence and harassment”, said Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario.
Highlights from the plan include:
• A multi-media public education campaign to help change behaviours and call on bystanders to intervene;
• A new health and physical education curriculum that will help children, from Grades 1 to 12, develop a deeper learning about healthy relationships and consent;
• Stronger workplace safety legislation that will require employers to investigate and address workplace harassment, including sexual harassment;
• An enhanced prosecution model tailored to the needs of sexual assault cases that will help ensure that all such charges are prosecuted as fairly, effectively and respectfully as possible;
• Legislation that would eliminate the two-year limitation period for civil sexual assault claims and claims of sexual assault before the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, and;
• Increased and stabilized funding for supports for survivors provided by community partners.
A permanent stakeholder Roundtable on Violence Against Women will be convened to provide advice to the government on ongoing and emerging gender-based violence issues.
It’s Never Okay is part of the government’s plan to provide more security, protection and equal opportunity for all Ontarians. It will help ensure that everyone in the province can live in safety and is free from the threat, fear or experience of sexual violence and harassment.
• One in three women will experience some form of sexual assault in her lifetime.
• Sexual assault victimization rates are five times higher for women under the age of 35.
• 28 per cent of Canadians say they have been on the receiving end of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or sexually-charged talk while on the job.