Sexual Violence Action Plan

In March 2011, the Government of Ontario publicly released its Sexual Violence Action Plan, called Changing Attitudes, Changing Lives.

As a citizen, the Commissioner is extremely happy about this interministerial initiative, which focuses on three fundamental aspects of the fight against sexual violence: (i) preventing sexual violence through increased public education, (ii) expanding and improving access to a wide range of services for survivors of sexual violence, and (iii) strengthening the criminal justice system’s response toward sexual violence. He has high hopes that the Plan will truly contribute to putting an end to sexual violence and to helping Ontario women and girls live in safety.

As a champion of the rights of Francophones, the Commissioner is also very happy about this initiative, which fully takes into account the specific needs of French-speaking citizens. For example, from the beginning of the consultations, which included regional meetings in communities in all parts of the province, Francophone survivors of sexual violence and frontline workers were invited to speak and share their views about the support that they need.

Their contribution led to specific commitments by the government, the most important of which consists of ensuring that access to French-language services will be addressed within the Action Plan, and setting up a joint working group on French-language services, to ensure that the policies, programs and services meet the particular needs of Francophone women.

The other commitments that will be beneficial for Francophones include (i) an increase in the funding for sexual assault centres that serve French-speaking women, (ii) an enhanced role for Action ontarienne contre la violence faite aux femmes, an organization that works to develop resources in French, and (iii) the provision of language interpretation services to help survivors understand the services and options that are available to them.

Sexual violence is a problem that affects all of society. the Commissioner is proud to see that in the government’s efforts to develop a plan for this serious problem, female citizens are being treated with dignity and respect, not only as women but also as Francophones.

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