Violence against Indigenous women has been tearing apart the lives of women, their families and communities for generations. It is a legacy of colonialism that continues to exacerbate poverty, social isolation and insecurity.
On February 23, Premier Kathleen Wynne launched Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women. With an investment of $100M in new funding over three years, the strategy aims to end violence against Indigenous women, reduce the impact violence has on Indigenous families and ensure future generations of Indigenous women are safe.
The strategy was created in partnership with the Indigenous partners of the Joint Working Group on Violence Against Aboriginal Women. It builds on the existing work of government, Indigenous partners and community organizations to raise awareness of and prevent violence, improve socio-economic conditions and heal deep wounds within Indigenous communities.
There are six areas of action in the strategy: Supporting Children, Youth and Families; Community Safety and Healing; Policing and Justice; Prevention and Awareness; Leadership, Collaboration, Alignment and Accountability; and Improved Data and Research.
First Nation, Métis and Inuit women in Ontario experience domestic violence, assault, homicide and sexual exploitation at significantly higher rates than other women in the province. The work that will be undertaken aims to end the cycle of violence through programs that directly help Indigenous women and their families, such as a new Family Well-Being Program to help support Indigenous families in crisis and help communities deal with the effects of intergenerational violence and trauma.
Other highlights are expanding counselling through the Talk4Healing Indigenous Women’s Helpline and supporting Indigenous men with healing and violence prevention programs such as Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin – I Am a Kind Man. A survivor-centred strategy to assist in the identification, intervention and prevention of human trafficking will be developed. Ontario is a major hub for sex trafficking in Canada, and young women are most at risk for this type of sexual exploitation - many of whom are Indigenous women and girls.
Ontario will also work with provincial, federal and Indigenous partners on a national public awareness and prevention campaign and will host the fifth National Aboriginal Women’s Summit later this year.
Walking Together: Ontario’s Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women is online at: Ontario.ca/walkingtogether
Attachments:WALKING TOGETHER: ONTARIO’S LONG-TERM STRATEGY TO END VIOLENCE AGAINST INDIGENOUS WOMEN
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