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Commentary: Gender-based violence fight welcomed

New program is a fine example of multi-stakeholder cooperation aimed at addressing a serious problem facing far too many Albertans

A new federal-provincial initiative aimed at combating gender-based violence is welcome and needed in Alberta communities large and small, urban and rural.

Announced last week, the program will provide increased support to victims – who in the vast majority of cases are women and girls – while seeking long-term solutions to a scourge that has for far too long plagued this province.

“Women and girls in Alberta should be able to live free from fear and violence. Creating a made-in-Alberta long-term strategy will support survivors, address the root causes of violence and create a brighter future for women and girls,” said Tanya Fir, minister of Alberta Arts, Culture and Status of Women.

“To survivors of gender-based violence and for those who are still experiencing it, we hear you, we are with you, and we will not rest until we achieve a future where no one has to experience gender-based violence.”

Lisa Hepfner, parliamentary secretary to the federal minister of Women and Gender Equality and Youth, said, “Investing in front-line organizations that work to end gender-based violence is the right thing to do. We will always be there to keep their doors open to anyone fleeing violence.”

The program includes $54 million in federal funding distributed over four years, with $6.9 million in start-up funds earmarked for 2023-24. 

The funds will be distributed to community organizations such as shelters and societies that help women and girls escape violence, address gaps in services and attack the root causes of gender-based violence.

The program will also engage men and boys to “support the shift to a culture of consent,” say officials.

Already in motion, the initiative includes an online survey open to all Alberta residents until Nov. 17.

This new program is a fine example of multi-stakeholder cooperation aimed at addressing a serious problem facing far too many Albertans. Supporting victims in this way is a positive and worthwhile step.

At the same time, efforts must be ongoing to ensure those who commit gender-based violence in Alberta pay for their crimes.

Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.


Dan Singleton

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