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City Joins Global Initiative to Raise Awareness of Gender-Based Violence

Last week, Mayor Kennedy Stewart proclaimed November 25 – December 10 as the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence in the City of Vancouver.The proclamation is part of an international initiative aimed at galvanizing action to address gender-based violence.

During the 16-day campaign the City will be working with partners such as the Pacific Association of First Nations Women, YWCA Metro Vancouver and Battered Women’s Support Services, to highlight the actions that anyone can take to help bring an end to gender-based violence.

The City will use transit shelter advertisements, posters and social media messages to provide information to the public about how they can help people experiencing violence, the Vancouver Police Department will be running a women’s safety course, and City staff will receive information on recognizing and supporting those at risk of gender-based violence.

Speaking about the campaign, Sandra Singh, General Manager for Arts, Culture and Community Services at the City of Vancouver said: “The City is proud to support this campaign as gender-based violence remains a personal reality for millions of people. One in five women experience abuse in intimate relationships and the occurrence of violence is higher for Indigenous women and girls, people of colour, LGBTQ2+, women with a disability and sex workers.

All levels of government, including municipalities, bear responsibility to alleviate violence perpetrated towards women and girls, and together we must play a part in solutions to end it.”

The City provides funding support to several not-for-profit groups who work to address gender-based violence, including WISH Drop-In Centre Society which provides a welcoming, non-judgmental and safe space for self-identified sex-working women who need support.

Speaking about the City’s support, Mebrat Beyene, Executive Director of WISH, said: “We are encouraged that the City of Vancouver has joined this global initiative to address gender-based violence; in particular, violence against women. At WISH, we continue to see alarming levels of targeted violence and stigma faced by sex workers. This is a valuable opportunity to shed light on this often-unseen and ignored violence. This also presents an opportunity to address the recommendations and findings from the Province’s “Forsaken” Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, and to
learn from what sex workers are sharing with the current National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.”

As part of the City’s Women’s Equity Strategy, the City is committed to ensuring that Vancouver is a safe city and supporting projects which ensure all women can lead lives that are secure and free from crime and violence.

Earlier this year, Vancouver became a member of UN Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces specifically focusing on gender-based violence. The recommendations expected from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, as well as those received from the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, will be at the centre of this collective work. The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence encompasses several significant dates, including:

  • • November 25 – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
  • • November 29 – International Women Human Rights Defenders Day
  • • December 1 – World AIDS Day
  • • December 5 – International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development
  • • December 6 – Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, which is observed as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on  Violence Against Women in Canada
  • • December 10 – International Human Rights Day and the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    To find out more about the Women’s Equity Strategy visit www.vancouver.ca/your- government/womens-advisory-committee.aspx.

PRESS RELEASE PROVIDED BY: CITY OF VANCOUVER