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Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan: Herstory, The Plan itself, and What’s Next 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan: Herstory, The Plan itself, and What’s Next 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan: Herstory, The Plan itself, and What’s Next 1

2 Where Did We Begin? 2 The concept of a sexual violence action plan first made it on the government’s agenda 8 years ago. OCRCC and its allies knew that this was the time to start advocating for a Plan as the polls were showing that the Harris (Conservative) provincial government was not in favour of being re-elected.  OCRCC met with Dalton McGuinty and other politicians to get them to sign onto a plan of action to help get the initiative in motion. The Liberals agreed.  The Ontario Women’s Directorate (OWD) supported a strategy, and working directly with OCRCC. The plan began by putting together a working definition of sexual violence  Unfortunately, Ministers changed often and OCRCC frequently saw the same preliminary meetings over and over again with different representatives.

3 Our Message 3 1.“Listen to survivors of sexual violence and women’s advocates.” 2.“Acknowledge that different women experience sexual violence − and are targeted for acts of sexual violence − differently.” 3.“Create an Action Plan that envisions an Ontario where all women are safe from all forms of sexual violence and the threat of sexual violence in their homes, workplaces, places of education, and in their communities.”

4 Developing Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan In 2010, OCRCC also took part in many aspects of the development of the Ontario Sexual Violence Action Plan. These included:  Contributing to the development of the SVAP vision and principles (May 6)  Consulting with OWD staff at several planning meetings (various dates)  Participated in a pre-consultation meeting with provincial VAW stakeholders (May 10)  Hosting a consultation with OCRCC membership (June 24)  Participating in several stakeholder consultations over the summer of 2010  Participating in a consultation session on Campus Safety (June 29)  Participating in a consultation session on Public Education High School (June 29  Participating in a consultation session on Training Needs for Professionals (Sept 2)  Participating in a consultation session on Trafficking (Sept 8) 4

5 Developing Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan In 2010, in partnership with the Ontario Women’s Directorate, OCRCC consulted with survivors of sexual violence for the purpose of informing the Ontario Sexual Violence Action Plan. Survivors of sexual violence attended consultation meetings in:  Guelph  Peel  Toronto  Ottawa  Sudbury  Kenora  Sarnia The survivor consultations were integral to a survivor-focused and informed Action Plan. 5

6 “[The] court expects women to be being weak and silent…I was humiliated in the court for having emotions related to [my] sexual violence experiences.” Guelph, Ontario survivor Survivor Consultation, 2011 “There are also many suicide attempts after rape, I know of three women right now that have tried to commit suicide several times and the men are free…We’re back in the 1950’s, [where] it’s all about the woman’s fault, you wanted it, look what you’re wearing.” Kenora, Ontario survivor Survivor Consultation, 2011 “The police are there to serve and protect − [but] if they do not believe you and they do not do anything, what is going to happen? I am not going to tell because no one will believe me − which is why women suffer in silence.” Guelph, Ontario survivor Survivor Consultation, What Survivors told us

7 “Recogniz[e] the cultural experiences of abuse and trauma (eg. aboriginal women).” Guelph, Ontario survivor Survivor Consultation, 2011 “[The] Police officer said ‘oh well these things happen in your community’.” Peel, Ontario survivor Survivor Consultation, 2011 “The level of vulnerability of those with disabilities needs to be considered in the planning so there is more support” [for these women]. Guelph, Ontario survivor Survivor Consultation, 2011 “Racism is rampant. First Nations people are dying in the jail system, police, corrections officers, members of judicial system need cultural sensitivity training.” Kenora, Ontario survivor Survivor Consultation, What Survivors told us cont.

8 Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan: The Ontario Women’s Directorate announced the Sexual Violence Action Plan in March of It is currently a 4-year Plan. It includes: 8  Funds to develop and implement public education campaigns  Funds for sexual assault centres, and increased funds for outreach strategies in Northern regions  Funds for resources for campus sexual assault prevention  Refine current standards concerning how Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres respond to drug-facilitated sexual assault  Refine current standards concerning how Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres respond to women with disabilities

9 Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan: It also includes: 9  Funds to support OCRCC and Action Ontarienne to develop and deliver training for staffs concerning supporting women with addictions, mental health diagnosis and trauma  Increased support to Francophone communities  Address sexual violence against Aboriginal women  Invest funds to expand the Language Interpreter Services program to women who have experienced sexual assault and human trafficking  Funds to launch a number of anti-human trafficking initiatives  Establish a human trafficking advisory committee, which will include survivors

10 Strengths 10  It recognizes different types of sexual violence, including exploitation, human trafficking, sexual harassment, sexual assault and exploitation via the internet/other technologies  It recognizes the work of Sexual Assault Centres and women’s advocates, and the long history of grassroots anti-violence work  Identifies sexual violence as a gender-based crime  Describes the consultations process, and who participated  Identifies some common sexual assault myths, victim-blaming rhetoric surrounding sexual assault, and the impact this has on survivors

11 Weaknesses 11  It does not acknowledge that sexual assault myths are a direct result of sexual violence being a crime rooted in sexism, racism, classism, and other reflections of social inequalities  It does not recognize that different women will experience different myths, or differing system responses, due to their presenting social location  While SVAP does identify that sexual assault myths discourage or prevent women from reporting, it does not recognize how these myths and woman-blaming rhetoric are reflected in reporting processes, the criminal justice system, and sentences for offenders  Women’s hesitations to report/seek help is phrased more as “women’s fears” than it is in the actual validity of these fears (and we know their fears are valid)

12  The critical examination of the systems and institutions  Recognize the skills and knowledge that women, diverse women, and survivors of violence bring to the work; and recognition that different women experience violence differently  Approaches that do NOT focus on restricting women’s movements or activities  Prevention and response strategies that do NOT focus solely on police reporting/criminal justice response to sexual assault and domestic violence  Frame sexual violence as a social problem, as opposed to a mental health malfunction that the survivor must be cured of  Liaising with other groups, survivors and demographics that can share their expertise on sexual violence, and help to implement the plan  Something way bigger than a 4-year Plan 12 Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan: We recommend…

13 13 Ontario’s Sexual Violence Action Plan  Questions?


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