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Header image of a woman and a child's face. The text reads: "Pervasive and widespread, woman abuse and sexual violence harm women of all ages, sexual orientations, racial and ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic classes and religions".

Pervasive and widespread, woman abuse and sexual violence harm
women of all ages, sexual orientations, racial and ethnic backgrounds,
socio-economic classes and religions.

Mobile header containing a woman's face and a child's face. The header contains the following text: "Woman abuse harms women of all ages, sexual orientations, ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic classes, & religions.

2014 June: Step It Up Campaign

WAWG EndorsesStep it Up
Platform Summary
for Reducing Violence Against Women

Stopping Sexual Assault, Rape and Sexual Harassment

1. Ensure the implementation and continuation of Ontario’s four-year Sexual Violence Action Plan.

2. Increase the funding for independent, community-based sexual assault centres.

3. Repudiate the Superior Court of Ontario’s ruling (Justice Terrence Paterson) that a defendant’s Charter rights are violated when he is prohibited from using the defence of “excessive intoxication” in sexual assault cases.

4. Expand the definition for compassionate leave under the Employment Standard’s Act to cover abused women who need time to address legal issues, find housing, arrange child care and have time to heal.

5. Expand the remedies of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board to cover workers who experience harassment, verbal and emotional abuse.

6. Increase funding to women’s organizations to provide support for women who experience harassment, and to develop community education programs.

Providing Access to Justice

1. Eliminate income testing for the two-hour free legal aid certificate in all Ontario shelters serving women who experience abuse.

2. Identify and provide supports and resources necessary for abused women to access the legal system, particularly in rural and northern communities.

3. Increase family law legal aid funding and revise legal aid eligibility rules to include more women, protect women’s assets, address the increasing numbers of unrepresented women in family law matters and to implement the changes recommended above.

4. Amend the ‘conflict’ rule that prevents a woman using a legal aid cerificate from hiring any lawyer she has previously seen as a “duty counsel” or Family Law Information Centre (FLIC) lawyer.

Holding Abusers Accountable; Supporting, Not Punishing Women

1. Pressure the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to rescind the newly enacted directive allowing Canada Border Services agents to enter anti-violence women’s shelters to arrest undocumented women. Ensure that OPP/local police services do not collude with abusers to keep undocumented women trapped in violence.

2. Educate all systems overseen by the Ontario government to stop labelling, ‘psychiatrizing’, and ‘criminalizing’ women for the violence they experience.

3. Provide funding to independent community-based women’s centres and Aboriginal women’s services for increased education efforts to de-bunk the continuing myths about sexual assault, sexual harassment and rape resulitng in incidents such as the misguided ‘advice’ to women not to dress as ‘sluts’ in order to avoid sexual assault.

Funding women's services and independent survivor-led groups

1. Immediately increase and stablize core funding to ensure at least financial and program parity for Aboriginal on-reserve shelters with women’s off-reserve shelters in Ontario.

2. Provide $4.5 million for community-based women’s centres to provide annualized core funding to all local women’s centres and women’s equity-seeking advocacy groups.

3. Increase core funding of women’s shelters and second-stage housing programs by 4% each year for the next 4 years to address outstanding and increasing funding shortfalls in violence against women’s community-based services across Ontario.

4. Provide publicly funded access to transportaion for children using emergency shelters and second stage services so that when it is safe to do so, children can maintain attendance at schools and child care services in their home communities during their stay in emergency residential services.

5. Provide increased annualized funding for independent women’s survivor-led groups working to end violence against women, as well as start-up funding support for survivors to establish new survivor-led initiatives or groups dedicated to supporting women and children in local communities.

For Parties and Candidates-what you can do

  • Put our platform into your platform!
  • These Step it Up! Campaign measures for addressing violence against women in Ontario can be accomplished in the next four years -if the political will is there.
  • Your party can be a leader in helping to end violence against women in Ontario. Make a commitment today to adopt our ‘platform’ steps for all women and children in Ontario.
  • Work with survivors and women’s advocates in our mutual efforts to protect the human and equality rights of all women and children across the province.

For Ontario Voters-what you can do

Here are some ways to get candidates interested in the issue:

  • Contact you local candidates and send (or bring) this Step it Up! ‘platform’ to them. Ask them to send you a response to the steps outlined here.  Send them a fax, email or letter supporting the Step it Up! Campaign.
  • Send this ‘platform’ to your local newspaper with a Letter to the Editor asking local candidates to announce their plans for ending violence against women and poverty in Ontario. Don’t just do it once. Do it throughout the election campaign.
  • Hand out our flyers and other Step it Up! materials-like this ‘newsletter’-at all candidates meetings and community events about the election, or at local transit stops, shopping areas and other places in your community where folks gather. The Step it Up! website will have information to use throughout the period until the election on October 6th. Our website: www.stepitupontario.ca.
  • Check out and respond to the platforms that all of the political parties will be posting on their websites and let them know what you think about their platforms. If there is no plan addressing violence against women, ask them why not. Here are the websites for the four major parties:
    1. Liberal Party of Ontario: http://www.ontarioliberal.ca/
    2. Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario: http://www.ontariopc.com/
    3. New Democratic Party of Ontario: http://ontariondp.com/en/
    4. Green Party of Ontario: http://www.gpo.ca/
  • Endorse the Step it Up! Campaign ‘platform’ by sending your email to the Campaign at [email protected] ‘Like us’ at Facebook

Please see the complete “Step it Up” Platform at www.stepitupontario.ca
The website provides fuller explanations of the items on this list, as well as additional recommendations for improving gender equity.  See policy considerations for:

  • Planning and Leadership
  • Equity and Accessibility
  • Economic Security
  • Housing
  • Publicly Funded Child Care
  • Education and Training
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