Premier David Eby and Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, have released the following statement in advance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women:
“Gender-based violence remains prevalent in communities throughout B.C. with women, girls, Two-Spirit, transgender, non-binary and other gender-diverse people targeted with violence. The impacts on survivors, their families and communities are devastating and long-lasting.
“We know intimate partner and family violence, femicide, and all forms of gender-based violence increased in intensity, frequency and complexity during the pandemic. When restrictions eased, sexual assaults increased.
“We stand firmly against this violence and the misogyny, racism, colonialism, transphobia and ableism that continues to enable it.
“From Nov. 25 until Dec. 10, 2022, governments, organizations, communities and people come together to mark the international 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
“These 16 days are a time to rally together in solidarity to end violence, in support of survivors and in recognition of the many people providing vital services and care. Throughout B.C., community organizations, advocacy groups, sexual assault centres, victim services and transition houses support survivors of violence with care, compassion and experience.
“Every day, people on the front lines are working to break the cycle of domestic violence, end the silence and stigma around sexual assault, and provide safety and healing for survivors and their families.
“We recognize our role in changing culture and reinforcing the lifesaving work underway to help end gender-based violence. Our government is delivering new, stable funding to support sexual assault response services; counselling, outreach and crisis support; victim service programs throughout B.C.; and critical investments in transition, safe homes, and second-stage housing so people rebuilding their lives have a safe place for themselves and their children.
“We know there is much more work to do.
“That is why we are developing a plan to help end gender-based violence. Our work will be guided by Indigenous partners, an advisory committee and the many experts, advocates and leaders who came together earlier in 2022 to provide feedback that will shape B.C.’s gender-based violence action plan.
“We want to especially acknowledge the advisory committee that has come together as we develop the plan for their experience, insights and expertise. We know that this work needs to be done in collaboration with the people who are working directly with survivors and their communities to ensure we are prioritizing our work to support those who have faced gender-based violence and help stop the violence that is having such an effect on people’s lives.
“We grieve the friends, family and community members who have been stolen from us by violence and femicide, including thousands of Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit people who have been murdered or who are missing in Canada.
“Stopping gender-based violence is everyone’s business. If you see or hear that something is wrong, speak up.
“Anyone who is in danger should call 911. If you or someone you know is being abused, or if you are concerned about someone’s safety, call or text VictimLink BC through its toll-free 24/7 confidential, multilingual telephone service at: 1 800 563-0808, or email: VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca
“Let’s challenge the behaviour that hurts people, break the silence that allows abusers to use violence, and pledge to make our province safer for everyone.”