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B.C. supporting survivors, breaking the cycle of gender-based violence

December 10, 2023 at 11:28 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president, Union of BC Indian Chiefs –

“For far too long, governments and people in positions of power have turned a blind eye to gender-based violence, particularly when committed against Indigenous Peoples. The release of B.C.’s Safe and Supported Action Plan signals hope that the depravity of such violence will no longer be ignored, tolerated or relegated as ‘women’s work’ for women’s organizations and advocates to solve. Ending systemic violence against women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, and ensuring healing for survivors as well as perpetrators, will take the collective action of us all. I challenge this government to continue their work to uphold the rights of survivors, families and First Nations, to apply a gender-based analysis plus a trauma-informed and culturally safe approach to service provision, to collaborate between ministries and all levels of government to ensure this is a priority, and to act boldly to implement the National Inquiry’s Calls to Justice to end the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit people. It’s been centuries of unending heartache and senseless racialized violence towards our cherished relatives. The time to see all hands on deck to end the genocide once and for all is now.”

Cheryl Casimer, political executive, First Nations Summit

“We acknowledge the principled and relational approach that the Province of B.C. undertook in the development of Safe and Supported: B.C.’s Gender-Based Violence Action Plan. First Nations traditional laws and knowledge guide how our communities prevent and respond to violence in a way that aligns with our values, and it is critical that this valuable knowledge is at the forefront as we collectively work to implement this plan. Existing reports on the unique and disproportionate forms of violence that are committed against Indigenous women invariably highlight the need for a new relationship between the Crown and First Nations based on respect and partnership. As we move forward on this initiative, we urge the Province to not only leverage the momentum and committed resources, but to also strengthen the government-to-government relationship with First Nations in alignment with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act so that we ensure a strong foundation and positive change where it is needed most.”

Regional Chief Terry Teegee, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations –

“The release of Safe and Supported: B.C.’s Gender-Based Violence Action Plan marks a positive milestone in our collective efforts to address gender-based violence in a holistic way that targets the root causes of this violence: colonialism, patriarchy, racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. This plan, and the advisory committee that supported its development, will enable ongoing accountability and collaboration as we move forward. Ensuring that progress is transparently communicated, and that actions for Year 2 and 3 are developed in collaboration with First Nations and other partners will be intrinsic to successfully accomplishing our shared goals. I look forward to seeing the actions proposed in this plan contribute to positive change on the ground and in the lives of all people in B.C., including First Nations communities.”

Dr. Kate Elliott, chair of Métis Women BC, Métis Nation Minister of Mental Health and Harm Reduction –

“This action plan is critical to the Nation. Its commitment to inclusivity and the recognition of Métis-specific services, particularly the pivotal emphasis on implementing gender-based violence services for Métis women and 2SLGBTQQIA+. The four identified focus areas, notably lifting up Indigenous approaches, align with a vision of cultural visibility for our people. MNBC’s dedication to ensuring that Métis women and the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community, not only find themselves reflected in the services but also experience them in a culturally safe manner. This crucial recognition and focus underscore the profound importance of the action plan, and I am eager to witness MNBC’s continued collaboration with the Province in advancing the well-being of Métis individuals, families and communities.”

Leslie Varley, executive director, BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres –

“Until now anti-violence services in B.C. have been managed within a colonial mainstream model that was neither accessible nor safe for Indigenous women. As a result, Indigenous community has been left far behind in developing our anti-violence service capacity. BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres is hopeful B.C.’s gender-based violence action plan will ensure Indigenous capacity, cultural safety and inclusion within mainstream programs and services, and importantly, that it supports the development of a full suite of Indigenous-specific anti-violence services by and for Indigenous women, girls and gender-diverse people.”

Ninu Kang, executive director, Ending Violence Association of BC –

“Ending Violence Association (EVA) BC has been honoured to work with the B.C. Gender Equity Office to advise in the creation of the B.C. action plan, as we have continued to help move key strategic priorities forward to end gender-based violence in our province. This plan was created by actively listening to the knowledge and experience held by survivors, communities and those who understand the systemic barriers that individuals face when accessing supports. British Columbia’s communities must remain centred on elevating Indigenous approaches and working collaboratively to implement and monitor the plan’s outcomes. On behalf of EVA BC, I want to congratulate the Gender Equity Office and all who were involved in the creation of this plan and recognize that this is one more step in our continued work to ensure safety for survivors and our communities.”

Dalya Israel, executive director, Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre –

“Ending gender-based violence will require the earnest and focused efforts of all facets of society. The pervasive presence of rape culture, transmisogyny and misogyny in our culture underscores the need for comprehensive action, and Salal is honoured to collaborate with the federal and provincial governments in our shared commitment to transform this goal into a reality.”

Anoop Gill, executive director, QMUNITY –

“This action plan will finally include all those impacted by systems and structures that facilitate gender-based violence. Today, we see an increase in hate and violence especially towards our trans and gender-diverse community, which grossly impacts 2SLGBTQIA+ communities who experience gender-based violence. To be excluded from the conversation regarding shelter, intimate partner violence and policing has felt like an erasure of experiences and identity. The hope with this action plan is visibility, recognition, understanding and resources mobilized to support 2SLBGTQIA+ communities in beginning to heal from and resist gender-based violence.”

Angela Marie MacDougall, executive director, Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) –

“At BWSS, survivors of gender-based violence have told us what they need to be safe so that they can thrive, in particular that there is no universal experience or approach. So, the release of the B.C.’s Safe and Supported Action Plan presents a vital opportunity to enhance urban and rural community-based interventions and systemic responses toward advancing gender and racial justice. The vision of ending gender-based violence endures and BWSS is eager to work alongside our communities, First Nations, the provincial and federal governments to turn the plan into action.”

Amy FitzGerald, executive director, BC Society of Transition Houses (BCSTH) –

“The BC Society of Transition Houses applauds the B.C. and federal government’s commitment to addressing gender-based violence (GBV) through a national action plan and now B.C.’s GBV action plan. BCSTH is grateful to serve on the Province’s GBV advisory committee and looks forward to working collaboratively with the government and our 130 member programs all across B.C. to implement the plan. How fitting that these investments focus on the prevention and elimination of GBV while enhancing supports for survivors, children and youth during the 16 Days of Activism international campaign to prevent violence against women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ individuals in every community, country and culture. BCSTH and its membership stand in partnership and solidarity with the B.C. government to build a province and world where all survivors and their families thrive and GBV is no longer a daily reality.”

Sussanne Skidmore, president, BC Federation of Labour –

“For workers experiencing gender-based violence, this action plan couldn’t be more timely. Whether it happens in the home, the workplace or anywhere else, the impact of that violence resonates in every aspect of their lives. Preventing gender-based violence – and supporting those who experience it – should be high on the agenda of governments and employers alike. So it’s good to see the B.C. government listening to survivors and taking urgent action.”

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