Government of Canada taking action to engage men and boys in ending violence against women

Nov 28, 2012, 10:17 ET from Status of Women Canada

OTTAWA, Nov. 28, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, today called on Canadians to join the worldwide 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence and reaffirmed the Government's commitment to engaging men and boys in ending violence against women.

"Our Government recognizes that violence against women and girls affects us all and everyone - including men and boys - must be part of the solution," said Minister Ambrose. "That is why our Government recently issued a Call for Proposals for innovative approaches that will, working in partnership with women and girls, strengthen the skills of men and boys to address issues of gender-based violence in their communities."

Research indicates that Canadian men are receptive to engaging in the issue of ending violence against women and girls. A survey for the White Ribbon Campaign found 75% of men felt it was very important to speak out on the issue of violence against women, and 66% felt as though they could personally be doing more.

An example of approaches being taken in Canada to engage men and boys is the 'Be More Than a Bystander' project in British Columbia. This three year project aims to reduce violence against women and girls through a partnership between Ending Violence Association of British Columbia (EVA BC) and the B.C. Lions Football Club, with the support of the Government of Canada through Status of Women Canada, the Government of British Columbia and business and labour sectors. The project aims to break the silence on violence against women and girls by providing bystanders, specifically youth, with practical tools and ideas about how to speak up and say that violence and abuse are not acceptable. The project targets both genders, however a particular emphasis is the engagement of men and boys, including football coaches and their teams across British Columbia.

"Violence against women is not just a women's issue, it is also a men's issue and men need to get involved," said Tracy Porteous, Executive Director of EVA BC. "We want to encourage an examination of the attitudes and behaviours that allow violence against women to happen in our society and provide information and tools that will help youth and adults alike break the silence," said Ms. Porteous.

Canada has also been a key voice on the international stage regarding the issue of engaging men and boys. During the most recent UN Commission on the Status of Women, Minister Ambrose drew attention to the important role that men and boys need to play in preventing violence against women and girls.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence commence on November 25, with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and conclude on December 10 with International Human Rights Day. The campaign also observes significant dates such as December 6, Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting projects that yield concrete results for women and girls in Canada while strengthening families, communities and the country. Through Status of Women Canada, the government's support for community-based projects has nearly doubled since 2006-2007, from $10.8 million to close to $19 million, its highest level ever. Since 2007, more than $54 million in funding has been approved for projects that seek to address violence against women and girls.

SOURCE Status of Women Canada