September 15, 2004
(Executive Council)


Minister launches Date Rape Drugs brochure during Sexual Violence Awareness Week

Joan Burke, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women and Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, in partnership with Memorial University’s School of Social Work students, community organizations and members of the Violence Prevention Initiative launched a new brochure on date rape drugs, along with a revised provincial Violence Prevention Initiative Web site during Sexual Violence Awareness Week in Newfoundland and Labrador, September 13-17.

"A recent scan by Statistics Canada shows our province has one of the highest rates of sexual violence per capita in this country," said Minister Burke. "Although statistics on drug-facilitated sexual assaults are challenging to obtain, the mere fact that these drugs are used illustrates that these assaults can be premeditated. And, of course, the vast majority of unsuspecting victims are women."

Date rape drugs are odourless and colourless. The common effects include amnesia, drowsiness, dizziness and hallucinations that can totally incapacitate the victim. When mixed with alcohol, these drugs are even more dangerous, leading to severe intoxication and possible death. Victims often have little cohesive memory of being assaulted, but may experience physical, mental and emotional symptoms indicating an assault, such as pain or discomfort, flashbacks and intrusive thoughts. "These drugs are virtually undetectable, and their effects are devastating. That’s why it is extremely important that we work together to ensure that all citizens live in safe and caring communities," said Minister Burke.

During Sexual Violence Awareness Week, the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre has organized a number of events, including the annual Take Back the Night march and rally on the steps of City Hall, scheduled for Friday, September 17.

"Government is pleased to work in partnership with community groups and educational institutions through the provincial Violence Prevention Initiative to improve policies, programs and services related to violence prevention and to enhance capacity to reduce violence in our society," said Minister Burke. "I encourage all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to become involved in this week’s activities. Each and every one of us has a role to play in ending violence against women."

The brochure was developed as a collaborative project of the Women’s Policy Office, the Department of Health and Community Services, the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, and Social Work students from Memorial University of Newfoundland. The updated Web site now includes emergency contact information, updated links and characteristics of various types of abuse.

Further information on the Violence Prevention Initiative can be obtained by calling (709) 729-2992, or by viewing the Web site at

Media contact: Kelly Foss, Women’s Policy Office, (709) 729-6225

2004 09 15                            3:40 p.m.

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