Providing support to survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence in Ontario is a priority for the Government of Canada

North York, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada

All people living in Canada should be safe and free from physical, emotional and sexual violence, discrimination, and harassment, regardless of where they live. As the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified systemic and longstanding inequalities, there is an increased need and urgency to fund initiatives aimed at supporting survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence (IPV) across the country.

Today, on behalf of the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Gary Anandasangaree, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Member of Parliament for Toronto—Danforth, announced that the Government of Canada is providing support for two projects that provide legal supports to victims and survivors of sexual assault and IPV in Ontario.

The Government of Canada is providing support for a collaborative effort coordinated by Justice for Children and Youth, and involves a partnership with eight other legal clinics across southwestern and eastern Ontario, including Legal Assistance of Windsor, the Elgin-Oxford Legal Clinic, and the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. This collaborative multi-clinic project will provide legal education, advice, representation and holistic services for survivors of sexual assault and IPV in both urban and rural settings across Ontario. This includes children and youth who are victims of sexual assault, physical violence or domestic violence, or those who are exploited in the sex trade. Over $6.6 million is being provided over five years for this project through Justice Canada’s Victims Fund and Justice Partnership and Innovation Program.

The Government of Canada is also providing support to Centre Francophone du Grand Toronto with the goal of improving access to legal advice and legal representation for francophone victims and survivors of sexual assault and IPV, and to better meet their needs as they navigate the criminal justice system. This funding is also going towards training criminal and family justice professionals on legal frameworks and dynamics that exist in cases of IPV. Over $1.26 million is being provided over five years for this project through Justice Canada’s Victims Fund.

These investments are the result of a call for proposals launched by the Government of Canada in June 2021, and are part of a Budget 2021 total investment of $48.75 million over five years, through Justice Canada’s Victims Fund and Justice Partnership and Innovation Program, for projects that help survivors of sexual assault and IPV in making informed decisions about their particular circumstances. These investments build on Budgets 2017 and 2018, with total funding of over $600 million over five years and complement efforts underway as part of the Government of Canada’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy.

Quotes

“One distressing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is an alarming increase in gender-based violence. Survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence need support to navigate the criminal justice and the family law systems, and we need to improve how the justice system responds to this kind of violence. These projects are an important step in empowering survivors in Ontario in seeking the justice they deserve so they can begin their healing journey.”

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“The nine community legal clinics working on this collaborative project work on the ground in our communities to provide trauma-informed, holistic, client-centred services to people who have complex legal needs, and who often feel more vulnerable than ever when facing the justice system. This multi-year project will help us provide much needed legal services and advocacy, and to make important strides in improving access to justice for survivors of sexual and domestic violence in Ontario. While each clinic is taking a different, localized approach, we will be working closely together to maximize the benefits and reach of resources to better serve clients. The power of working together in such a manner is one of the core values of community legal clinics that results in improved outcomes for people in the justice system.”

Mary Birdsell
Executive Director, Justice for Children and Youth

“Navigating the legal system and its intricacies can be incredibly difficult for sexual violence victims and their families. It is even more challenging with added language and cultural factors. Our mission is to support diverse francophone communities impacted through active offer of quality legal French-language services adapted to their needs. This funding will go a long way in ensuring our Centre deepens its expertise in this domain, and expands its reach by providing leadership and support to community partners in need as well.”

Florence Ngenzebuhoro
Executive Director, Centre Francophone du Grand Toronto

Quick facts

  • Intimate partner violence (IPV), also known as spousal or domestic violence, refers to multiple forms of harm caused by a current or former intimate partner or spouse. IPV can happen in any community, in any type of intimate relationship, including within a marriage, common-law or dating relationship, in a heterosexual or LGBTQ2 (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two-Spirit) relationship. It can happen at any time during a relationship and even after it has ended, whether or not partners live together or are sexually intimate with one another.
  • Women represent the majority of victims of intimate partner homicides in Canada, accounting for 80% of people killed by an intimate partner between 2014 and 2020. In 2020, 160 women were violently killed in Canada. 40% of women report experiencing some form of IPV in their lifetime and 30% of all women 15 years of age and older report having been the victim of sexual assault.
  • While Indigenous women account for about 5% of all women in Canada, they accounted for 22% of all women killed by an intimate partner between 2014 and 2020.
  • Justice Canada’s Justice Partnership and Innovation Program (JPIP) provides contribution funding for projects that support a fair, relevant and accessible Canadian justice system. JPIP supports activities that respond effectively to the changing conditions affecting Canadian justice policy. Priorities include access to justice, family violence, and emerging justice issues. The long-term goal of JPIP is to contribute to increasing access to the Canadian justice system and strengthening the Canadian legal framework.
  • The Victims Fund provides grants and contributions to support projects and activities that encourage the development of new approaches, promote access to justice, improve the capacity of service providers, foster the establishment of referral networks, and/or increase awareness of services available to victims of crime and their families. It aims to improve access to justice and services for all victims of crime, with a particular focus on meeting the needs of the most vulnerable victims of crime, including child and youth victims

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