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April 4, 2006
(Executive Council)

New action plan for lasting impact on incidence of violence in province

The Government of Newfoundland and Labradorís new six-year violence prevention plan - Taking Action Against Violence - was officially launched today by Joan Burke, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women and lead Minister for the Violence Prevention Initiative. The plan, which is part of governmentís commitment to building safe and secure communities, was allocated $1.25 million in Budget 2006, a total of $7.5 million over six years.

"This investment is a clear demonstration of our commitment to addressing violence in our communities," said Minister Burke. "Working with community organizations we can change attitudes, stop the cycle of violence, and give victims of violence the supports they need to live free from abuse."

Developed from consultations with community partners and government departments and agencies, the new plan focuses on early intervention and prevention and identifies over 150 activities. It outlines six strategic priorities: (1) increasing awareness and attitudinal change; (2) increasing community participation; (3) improving legislation, policy, programs, services, information and facilities; (4) supporting Aboriginal women and children; (5) enhancing research and development; and, (6) improving leadership, coordination and accountability.

The plan focuses on preventing violence against women, children and youth, Aboriginal women and children, seniors, persons with disabilities and others who are victims of violence because of ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic status.

A key part of the implementation of the plan is strengthening the commitment and support to community partners. Over half of the annual budget is earmarked for grants to community partners and work at the community level. Highlights include:

  • $220,000 annually to establish an additional four regional coordinating committees in Gander, Avalon West, Stephenville, and Marystown;
  • An increase of $10,000 for the annual budgets of each of the existing six regional coordinating committees (in Grand Falls-Windsor, Clarenville, St. Anthony, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, St. Johnís, and Corner Brook). Regional coordinating committees will now each receive $55,000 annually;
  • $20,000 for travel within Labrador;
  • $20,000 increase each to the annual budgets of the Transition House Association of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre;
  • $30,000 in funding to support an annual stakeholders conference; and,
  • $10,000 for meetings with the Violence Prevention Initiativeís Community Advisory Committee.
  • "Violence is so pervasive a social problem that it remains unquestioned by most. Its roots in inequality, poverty and social exclusion, are so deeply engrained that efforts to address and reverse its impact on our homes and communities must be concerted and comprehensive," said Dana English, member of the Community Advisory Committee and coordinator for the Regional Coordinating Coalition Against Violence. "We are delighted to see the crucial partnership between government and community continue in this most important initiative."

    "In addition to investing in the grass-roots work of community-based organizations," said Minister Burke, "we are also undertaking specific initiatives within government to reach the people who are directly impacted by violence, and help those who work with victims of violence on a daily basis."

    Over six years, some of highlights include:

  • Approximately $800,000 for family violence and violence awareness training for front-line service providers including social workers and police;
  • $300,000 to improve the Department of Educationís Safe and Caring School Program to address youth bullying;
  • $120,000 to evaluate the satisfaction of current services related to violence prevention and services for victims; and,
  • $96,500 to develop a web site to provide information about court proceedings related to family violence with options available for English, French, Inuktitut and Innu-aimun and a pamphlet specifically for children regarding the justice system and family violence.
  • "We heard clearly during consultations with community partners that there is a real need for more education and public awareness to change attitudes," said Minister Burke. Approximately $250,000 will be provided annually for public awareness campaigns focusing on elder abuse, violence against women, child abuse and prevention services and supports for victims of violence.

    "To truly affect change in our communities, we need to work together," said Minister Burke. "This unprecedented commitment will enable government to work with our community partners and have a lasting impact on the incidence of violence in our communities."

    Media contact:
    Cathy Whelan, Womenís Policy Office, (709) 729-6225
    Jacquelyn Howard, Communications, (709) 729-0048, 689-2624



    Government departments involved in the Violence Prevention Initiative include:

  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
  • Department of Health and Community Services (and the Regional Integrated Health Authorities)
  • The Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation
  • Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs
  • The Labour Relations Agency
  • The Rural Secretariat, and
  • The Womenís Policy Office
  • Community organizations involved with the Violence Prevention Initiative include:

  • Labradorians for Peaceful Communities
  • Grenfell Regional Anti-Violence Team
  • Western Regional Coalition to End Violence
  • Committee Against Violence Inc.
  • Eastern Region Committee Against Violence
  • Regional Coordinating Coalition Against Violence Ė Eastern Avalon and,
  • Four new regional coordinating committees to come on stream in 2006
  • Provincial Advisory Council on the Status of Women
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre
  • Transition House Association of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Seniors Resource Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Citizenís Crime Prevention Association of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Other stakeholders include:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Health Centre
  • Coalition of Persons with Disabilities
  • Multicultural Womenís Association of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Association for New Canadians
  • Boys and Girls Club of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Canadian Mental Health Association of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • The Canadian Red Cross
  • Community Youth Network
  • The AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Human Rights Association of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • John Howard Society of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Independent Living Resource Centre
  • Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Community Living
  • St. Johnís Native Friendship Centre
  • Highlights of activities by population:
    Women: To provide adequate supports for women to feel comfortable leaving violence, the Womenís Policy Office will be conducting research to identify gaps in transitional supports for women and recommending appropriate models for urban, rural, and isolated communities. The Department of Justice will also play a key role in making changes to the justice system to provide better supports for women experiencing family violence. In addition to implementing the new Family Violence Legislation, the department will begin researching family violence specialized courts.

    Children: Programs in the new Violence Prevention Initiative will focus on providing early intervention programs for high-risk youth and families. Risk assessment tools will be used in schools, and family programs in the education system will be strengthened.

    Youth: A cross-departmental violence prevention youth strategy will be established to maximize the efforts of several youth-focused programs and services. The Royal Newfoundland Constabularyís Students Taking Responsibility in Violence Education (STRIVE) program will be updated and increased collaboration with other community programs aimed at youth will take place. Bullying, harassment and intimidation is one issue currently being addressed by the Department of Education. An in-service for teachers on this topic will be extended to ensure teachers have the tools necessary to react quickly and effectively to bullying situations in our schools.

    Aboriginal Women and Children: Under its regular granting program, the Womenís Policy Office will provide grants for violence prevention projects in Aboriginal communities. A comprehensive review of the services required for women and children in transition will focus separately on what services are needed for Aboriginal women and children. In addition, the Department of Justice will begin work to improve translation services for Aboriginal people in the justice system.

    Seniors: As part of the Violence Prevention Initiativeís public awareness campaign, government will send a message that violence against seniors is unacceptable. Awareness around indicators of abuse will also be raised in this campaign to ensure that seniors know when they are being abused physically, psychologically and most often, financially.

    Persons with disabilities: Persons with disabilities face countless challenges in reporting violence and in accessing existing intervention services. Violence Prevention Initiative departments and agencies intend to evaluate services and take measures to improve services for persons with disabilities.

    Persons who are victims due to race, sexual orientation, ethnicity or economic status: Newfoundland and Labrador is growing in diversity. The Violence Prevention Initiative will promote diversity and include anti-racism and anti-sexism messages in its public awareness campaigns. Encouraging diversity and acceptance is another important aspect of violence prevention. A review of existing cultural sensitivity training will take place and diversity inclusive education will receive new support.

    2006 04 04                                10:30 a.m.

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