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For Immediate Release
April 23, 2007
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Community Services
Ministry of Attorney General
VANCOUVER – Premier Gordon Campbell is hosting British Columbia’s first Congress on Women’s Safety in Vancouver today with Community Services Minister Ida Chong and Attorney General Wally Oppal, bringing together experts in the field to discuss the issue of violence against women.
“Eliminating violence against women will require a long-term, concerted effort from each one of us,” said Campbell. “Our government is committed to leading the way in North America in healthy living, which includes living without fear of violence. Ultimately, we want B.C. to realize its potential as the best place on earth to raise a family; to live and play; work, invest and get ahead. To ensure our province is the ‘best place’ for all British Columbians, it is vital that all women feel safe in their communities.”Delegates to the Congress on Women’s Safety bring a range of perspectives on the issue of violence against women, and include representatives from government, First Nations, multicultural and non-profit organizations, justice and law enforcement, business and the academic community. Presentations will highlight the ongoing work of the justice system, along with topics such as the effects of violence, its costs to society, the multicultural aspects of violence, and new prevention programs that include working with men and boys to break the cycle of violence.
“This is a complex issue that we are working to address in partnership with other governments, educators and community leaders,” said Chong. “We, as government, are committed to providing intervention services for women fleeing abuse, and have increased our support for violence intervention programs and services by well over 40 per cent since 2005, also investing in initiatives aimed at preventing violence against women from happening in the first place. This Congress demonstrates B.C.’s continued leadership in reaching everyone with the message that violence is unacceptable in our communities.”
“Violence against women crosses all cultures and stratas in our society,” said Oppal. “We need to break down the barriers that isolate women who are in abusive relationships and that prevent them from seeking help. Any form of violence is a criminal act, punishable by the justice system, and that it is unacceptable in any culture.”
Government supports a number of programs and services to ensure vulnerable women or those fleeing violence with their children have access to the services and supports they need, including:
· Transition and safe homes;
· Second-stage housing;
· Counselling for women and children fleeing abuse;
· Outreach and multicultural outreach services;
· Numerous Victims Services programs; and
· A 1-800 VictimLink 24-hr/multilingual helpline.
Ministry of Community Services
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