According to Canada’s minister for women and gender equality, more that 11 million people in Canada aged 15 and over experienced intimate partner violence nationally.
At least once since the age of 15.
Tuesday morning, the federal and provincial governments announced the signing of a bilateral agreement that would see Saskatchewan receive $20.3 million over the next four years.
A minimum of 25 per cent of the funding will go towards increasing prevention efforts.
This money is to support the implementation of Canada’s National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. The 10-year plan is meant to set a framework to rid the nation of gender-based violence, while supporting victims and their families.
“This first step to confront this is an honest national conversation,” says Marci Ien, Canada’s minister for women and gender equality, “about how intimate partner violence is talked about and how our society sees it.”
Built from over 1,000 recommendations from front line organizations, survivors, experts and Indigenous partners, its foundation can be drawn back to five pillars, says Ien, 80 per cent of which falls under provincial jurisdiction.
- Support for victims, survivors and their families.
- Responsive justice system
- Implementing Indigenous-led approaches
- Social infrastructure and enabling environment.
“This isn’t just about a physical act it’s about the emotional the financial it’s about the mental toll that survivors carry for the rest of their lives,” says Ien.
The $20.3 million is specific to Saskatchewan and its needs. Because the majority of the province’s population lives close to urban municipalities, it’s aimed to provide supports for those in rural or remote locations.
Minister Ien stressed that under-reporting continues to be an issue. “We get the numbers that we know, we don’t get the numbers that we don’t know — those that are impacted and too afraid to come forward.”
Ien highlighted three priorities that came from consultations with the Saskatchewan government: reaching underserved and at-risk populations, prevention and stabilizing the gender-based violence sector.
“In Saskatchewan, one of the challenges is we’re a very large province with our population in a couple urban areas,” says Provincial Association of Transition Houses (PATHS) director, Jo-Anne Dusel.
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Dusel believes that violence against women is taught and says the best way to educate the public is through the education system.
“If we really want to make a change, if we truly want to address and prevent and eliminate gender-based violence, we need to start by providing education in an age-appropriate way in the school system.”
Saskatchewan has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the country. In 2021, the rate of police-reported violence against women was 2,326 incidents per 100,000 people. That was the highest rate of any province, and more than twice the national average of 1,190.
Dusel is hopeful this new deal will help combat this issue plaguing Saskatchewan. “It is a step in a new direction.”
Calls for proposal to use the money open in the fall.
— with files from Global News
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