News Manitoba

Taking on domestic violence

QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO

QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO

The Manitoba government is proclaiming November as Domestic Violence Prevention Month and urging Manitobans to play a role in speaking out against abuse, Families Minister Scott Fielding and Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women, announced Nov. 1.
“Every Manitoban must look for signs of domestic abuse and speak up to support both those who continue to suffer and those brave enough to break away,” said Fielding.  “In today’s modern age, victim blaming those who speak out is not acceptable.  We have a moral responsibility to support victims and at the same time, work to educate those who inflict violence on how to end the cycle.  But until that happens, domestic violence will continue to be an under-reported issue in Manitoba.”
Fielding noted that individuals, communities and government must work together and take a comprehensive approach to understand and end family violence through public awareness, early education, prevention activities and responsive, co-ordinated services.
“Women, men and children across Manitoba experience the traumatic impacts of family violence,” said Squires.  “Intimate partner violence ranges from verbal and emotional abuse, to physical or sexual assault including homicide, and this type of violence accounts for one in every four violent crimes reported to police.  We must create an environment where survivors feel supported as they bravely rebuild their lives free from abuse.  Our government values the dedicated, hardworking Manitobans who fight to end intimate partner violence.”
Manitoba has the second-highest rate of intimate partner violence in Canada, with a police-reported rate of 896 victims per 100,000 citizens, nearly double the Canadian rate of 482 per 100,000, according to Statistics Canada’s Family Violence in Canada:  A Statistical Profile 2015.
Enhanced efforts in November will complement ongoing work across the Department of Families and Manitoba Status of Women including:
• The Family Violence Prevention Program funding three events: 
 - $5,000 to the Family Violence Consortium of Manitoba for a free presentation on Domestic Violence and Health today;
 - $500 to the Manitoba Association of Women’s Shelters for a presentation on the origins of women’s shelters Nov. 24 (visit http://maws.mb.ca for information); and
 - $1,500 to the Challenge for Change dinner and social innovation lab event held by Willow Place Nov. 29 (visit http://willowplaceshelter.ca for information).
• Manitoba Housing’s ongoing upgrades worth $2.84 million to five regional shelters for victims of violence.  Part of the money comes through the Investment in Affordable Housing agreement with the federal government.  Upgrades are complete at Agape House – Eastman Crisis Centre in Steinbach and Genesis House in Winkler.  Construction is expected to wrap up in November at Portage Family Abuse Prevention Centre in Portage la Prairie and Westman Women’s Shelter in Brandon, while construction is expected to be complete in early 2018 at Thompson Crisis Centre.  Upgrades include new furnaces, hot water tanks, radiators, windows, emergency lighting and accessible washrooms.
• The Manitoba Women’s Advisory Council’s 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence social media campaign Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, encouraging Manitobans to #speakout and #seekhelp.  Manitoba Status of Women has renewed its partnership with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to provide $50,000 this year for the Break the Silence on Violence Against Women campaign that engages men as allies in the fight against abuse.
Manitobans are encouraged to learn how to stop the violence by visiting the website at www.gov.mb.ca/stoptheviolence/index.html.  For resources and supports available in Manitoba, visit the Family Violence Prevention Program website at www.gov.mb.ca/fs/fvpp/index.html.