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September 3, 2003
Violence Against Women Awareness Month proclaimed in the City of Toronto
  
Councillor Pam McConnell, Co-Chair of the Woman Abuse Work Group, in
partnership with numerous community representatives; the Metropolitan Action
Committee on Violence Against Women and Children; the Woman Abuse Council of
Toronto; and the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre; today announced the City's
proclamation of September as Violence Against Women Awareness Month in
Toronto.

Some of the proposals made today in the fight to stop violence against women
were for all levels of government to implement the Hadley recommendations; for
institutions to integrate gender awareness, anti-violence and human rights
education; and collaboration among women's groups, grassroots organizations,
police and the media.

"The issue of violence against women needs to be brought to the forefront and
no longer discussed behind closed doors," said Councillor McConnell. "We have
had numerous recommendations including the most recent coroner's inquest into
the death of Gillian Hadley, that provides a clear and detailed road map for
effectively addressing the issues of abuse against women in Ontario."

Recently, Statistics Canada released a report highlighting an increase in the
number of women killed at the hands of their partners and ex-partners.
Occurrences of abuse against women increased 25 per cent between 2000 to 2001,
with the highest increase occurring in Ontario. This increase comes despite the
coroner's inquest into the death of Gillian Hadley, which resulted in 58
recommendations to effectively address the issue of woman abuse in Ontario.
Over the last five years, spousal violence, murder rates, criminal harassment
by a spouse (53 per cent) have increased in Canada, with 85 per cent of the
victims being women who were seriously assaulted.

Toronto City Council approved a recommendation for the Task Force on Community
Safety to establish a Woman Abuse Work Group in response to the Hadley Inquest
recommendations. The work group is addressing woman abuse as it relates to City
policies, programs and services, and is building on current initiatives in
these areas. It will also assist in bringing together various stakeholders to
develop strategies and enhance co-ordination, collaboration and share best
practices on advocacy, education and prevention.

Violence Against Women Awareness Month will be supported by the following
events:

Wednesday, September 10
Fourth Annual Community Safety Night Launch
The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children
(METRAC) will launch its Community Safety Night with an award presentation and
safety audit training sessions for members of the community.

Time: 4 p.m.
Location: 55 John St., main floor (Vineyards, Metro Hall)
Contact: Cristina Alcivar, 416-392-4286 or e-mail: auditnight@metrac.org

Tuesday, September 16
Fourth Annual Community Safety Walkabout
METRAC will host the fourth annual city-wide Community Safety Walkabout. This
event will bring diverse citizens together throughout the GTA to evaluate the
safety of their neighbourhoods and provide further recommendations. Last year,
more than 50 neighbourhoods in Toronto, and many City councillors were involved
in activities related to stopping violence against women and making our city a
safer place.

Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Contact: info@metrac.org
Wednesday and Thursday, September 17 and 18
Woman Abuse: Differences Matter - Conference 2003
This dynamic conference will take a closer look at how racism and other forms
of oppression create differential experiences and outcomes for women who
experience abuse.

Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: North York Memorial Hall, 5150 Yonge St.
Contact: Alison Nielsen Jones, 416-944-9242 or
e-mail: student@womanabuse.ca

Saturday, September 27
Take Back the Night
Take Back the Night is an annual march that was started in Germany to respond
to a series of sexual assaults, rapes and murders. It has grown into an
international event that is organized locally to make a statement about the
collective vision to name and end violence against women.

Time and Location: to be announced
Contact: Claudette Boulanger, Toronto Rape Crisis Centre,
416-597-1171

BACKGROUNDER
Woman Abuse Work Group

In May 2002, Toronto City Council approved a recommendation for the Task Force
on Community Safety to establish a Woman Abuse Work Group. This came as part of
the City's response to the Coroner's Inquest into the death of Gillian Hadley.
The City supported the need to engage more actively with the community sector
on the development of strategies, within the City's jurisdiction, to enhance
programs and services for abused women and their children. The establishment of
a work group is one mechanism to achieve this goal.

Rationale:

One of the directions articulated in the City's Strategic Plan is "to improve
social and economic inclusion within our communities." One of the actions
identified to achieve this goal is "enhancing initiatives to address violence
against women."

As the Council committee most closely aligned with violence issues, it was
recommended that the Task Force on Community Safety establish a work group
specifically focused on the woman abuse issue. This role complements the keys
goals of the Task Force: to establish the City as a leader on community safety
and crime prevention; to remain current on best practices and innovative
approaches; and, to respond to emerging community safety issues that impact on
the City's quality of life.

The Woman Abuse Work Group represents a key opportunity for the City to take
leadership on the issue of woman abuse as it impacts on City policies, programs
and services building on current City initiatives in these areas. It will also
help to enhance co-ordination, collaboration and the ability to share best
practices with the City's community partners working in this area.

Mandate:

The mandate of the Woman Abuse Work Group is to develop strategies to achieve
the following goals:

(1) to increase the profile of woman abuse issues at the City of Toronto;
(2) to strengthen the integration of woman abuse issues into City of Toronto
policies, programs and services;
(3) to enhance linkages between City and community partners on policies,
protocols and best practices; and
(4) to strengthen the network of municipal and community services and supports
for abused women and children in Toronto.

The Work Group may also consider and/or recommend strategies to address other
forms of family violence.

All work done by the Woman Abuse Work Group will be within an
anti-racism/oppression framework. (As amended by the Task Force on Community
Safety, April 8, 2003.)

Activities:

The Work Group will develop a work plan to implement the following activities:

(1) designate work group members to participate in the planning committee for
the annual conference supporting community co-ordination on woman abuse issues;
(2) the identification of priority City policy and program areas of focus;
(3) the promotion and education of woman abuse issues as they relate to City of
Toronto policies, programs and services; and
(4) the identification of opportunities to strengthen the partnerships between
the City and its community and institutional partners.

Membership:

The membership of the Woman Abuse Work Group includes:

Woman Abuse Council of Toronto (WACT)
Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC)
Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
Education Wife Assault
Assaulted Women's Helpline
Toronto Police Service
Sistering
Nellies
Islamic Social Services and Resources (ISSRA)
Native Child and Family Services
City of Toronto Status of Women Committee

Media contact:
Councillor Pam McConnell,
416-392-7916



 

 

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