For Immediate Release
October 4, 2018
There has been a significant rise in the rates of domestic and sexual violence in Newfoundland and Labrador. In advance of the In Her Name vigil for missing and murdered women and girls of NL, the St. John’s Status of Women Council and St. John’s Native Friendship Centre are calling once again for the establishment of a provincial task force on gender-based violence. The Provincial Action Network on the Status of Women (PANSOW) is fully supporting this call to action.
We wish to see the establishment of a task force that is well-resourced, which includes a budget, staffing, strong terms of reference, and ministerial level accountability. If we are to see tangible change in the levels of violence women and girls experience daily we must have the political will to drive significant changes in legislation, policy, and funding.
We are aware of the Minister’s Committee on Violence Against Women and Girls in Newfoundland and Labrador struck last year and support that community collaboration. The committee can be a significant and vital part of the work of the task force. However, a St. John’s-centric committee alone is simply not the right mechanism to deal with the magnitude of the issues of violence against women and girls in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Paula Sheppard Thibeau, PANSOW Co-chair and Executive Director, Corner Brook Status of Women Council:
“Only through a collaborative approach that includes stakeholders from various sectors and areas of the province can we reduce violence in our families and communities. The work of a gender-based violence task force must focus on strengthening efforts for early identification and intervention, and providing individuals affected with the necessary supports to gain economic, psychological, and physical well-being.”
Raelene Vickers, Executive Director, Mokami Status of Women Council:
“Violence against women and girls in Labrador is a massive concern that needs to be addressed through a province-wide task force on gender-based violence. Labrador communities have some of the highest rates of domestic violence across the country, and too many women are at risk. The cultural needs of Indigenous communities in Labrador must be included in a provincial plan to end gender-based violence. Women and girls in Labrador need to know that their safety and lives matter to the province.”
Paula Sheppard Thibeau
Corner Brook Status of Women Council
St. John’s Status of Women Council
PANSOW applies a provincial lens to issues of equality and ensure a public voice for women from a non-partisan, grassroots, and feminist perspective. PANSOW consists of the Executive Directors of all eight councils in Newfoundland and Labrador. PANSOW’s mandate is two-fold: To educate and build awareness on broad issues related to gender equity and justice in the province; and to advocate for change in government policy and legislation that facilitates gender equity and justice.