British Columbia strengthens focus on preventing sexual assault

The Province reaffirmed its support for victims of sexual assault in B.C. and its commitment to end this violence as part of its long-term commitment to achieve a Violence Free B.C.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris visited the Surpassing Our Survival (SOS) Society – which has one of the larger contracts to deliver the Stopping the Violence counselling program in B.C. – to hear about its work with victims and outline steps the Province is taking to eliminate sexual violence.

Morris reiterated that in addition to dedicated, annual funding for service providers like SOS, government will be following through with more grants from civil forfeiture proceeds this year, as promised with the release of the long-term Vision for a Violence Free BC Strategy launched last year. “Front-line services that help victims of sexual violence to become survivors are absolutely critical,”  Morris said. These will support programs and projects focused on preventing sexual violence and supporting victims, including younger women who are statistically at greater risk. More details regarding these grants will be released in the days ahead.

bcsaysomethingwebsite

The focus on prevention is also supported by ongoing work by the Ministry of Advanced Education. It has compiled an inventory of the various policies dealing with sexual misconduct on B.C. campuses from each of the province’s 25 public post-secondary institutions. A working group is developing a comprehensive approach to prevent and respond to issues of sexual violence at public post-secondary institutions in B.C. This framework is expected to be completed in the coming months.

In addition, as Premier Christy Clark confirmed last week, government is working on an urgent basis to pass Bill M205, the Post-Secondary Sexual Violence Policies Act, or amend it and pass a similar version of this proposed legislation.

Today, the Province also unveiled an awareness campaign focused on the issue of sexual assault. This expansion of last year’s #SaySomething targets young adults and aims to change attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate sexual violence. The campaign goals include:

  • Dispelling myths about sexual assault.
  • Raising awareness about sexual assault, with resources on how to offer help or get help.
  • Educating bystanders on their role and empowering them to take action.

A host website − www.saysomethingbc.ca − provides information and resources for victims, service providers, and bystanders who want to help.