May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month in Ontario.
There has been some progress for survivor-victims. The Globe and Mail’s Unfounded series drew much needed attention to critical issues facing sexual violence survivor-victims. The investigation also succeeded in getting Statistics Canada to resume reporting on how many cases of sexual violence are deemed “unfounded” by police. Locally, we interviewed Paula Lam, a Co-ordinator for Peel Committee Against Women Abuse (PCAWA) to discuss specific issues in our region.
However, there have also been reductions in services available for victim-survivors in the Region of Peel, with Hope 24/7 closing their doors on Fridays, laying off staff and limiting already long waiting periods for counselling.
The Government of Ontario earlier this year released a progress report on their 13-point plan to stop sexual violence and harassment. $41 million has been allocated over 3 years to support the implementation of this plan. The report claims that “Within six months, there were clear and measurable results” and that “two-thirds of Ontarians surveyed recalled seeing the #WhoWillYouHelp campaign.”
This month, Brampton Focus will be shining a light on some of the organizations in the Region of Peel who support victim-survivors. We will examine how to prevent sexual violence, and issues that impact services available to victim-survivors. We will also look at what elements of Ontario’s 13-point plan are working and discuss new challenges.