Statement by the Honourable Carolyn Bennett and the Honourable Jane Philpott on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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OTTAWA, ONTARIO (November 25, 2018) – The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, and the Minister of Indigenous Services, Jane Philpott, issued the following statement today on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women:

“Ending violence against Indigenous women and girls is one of the most urgent issues Canada faces today. We can and must do better.

On this day we honour all missing and murdered Indigenous women, and stand in solidarity with their families who continue to grieve their loss and fight for justice.

Indigenous women and girls are three times more likely to report being a victim of a violent crime, and are disproportionately affected by gender-based violence due to poverty, intergenerational trauma, and the unacceptable socio-economic gaps that create barriers to access quality health care, education, and other vital services. Indigenous children who grow up in foster care also face greater risks of becoming missing persons, victims of human trafficking or homicide.

Today, we re-affirm our unwavering commitment to preventing gender-based violence and providing support for survivors. The Government of Canada has invested nearly $200 million to implement the first-ever federal Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. This important strategy lays the foundation for increased efforts around prevention, support for survivors and their families, and the promotion of responsive legal and justice systems. Developed in the spirit of reconciliation, this strategy identifies a range of actions that must be taken to address violence against Indigenous women and girls.

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is an important global reminder that this is the most widespread and devastating human rights violation in our world today. Gender-based violence should never be tolerated. We must continue to take action to end the impunity, silence and stigma surrounding it.

By empowering Indigenous women and girls, their families, communities and Canada as a whole will benefit. Improving access to shelters, health, education and employment, as well as improving socio-economic conditions to help address the root causes of violence for Indigenous women and girls are critical steps.

No form of gender-based violence should ever be tolerated. We will continue to work with Indigenous partners, and Indigenous women and girls in particular, to make Canada a safer place for all. Our actions matter. We can and must do better.

We invite you to take part in the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, and join the conversation between November 25 and December 10 using the hashtag #MYActionsMatter.”