Letter-writing campaign calls for national action plan to end
school-related gender-based violence
CANADA, March 5, 2013 /CNW/ - As part of a global call for all national
governments to step up their action on the issue of violence against
women and girls, Plan Canada has launched an online letter-writing
campaign that encourages Canadians to join the call for a national
action plan to end school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV).
The letter-writing campaign comes on the heels of a joint report, A Girl's Right to Learn Without Fear, released in Canada late last year by Plan Canada and the University of
Toronto Faculty of Law. The report found that SRGBV is a major factor
threatening the education of children, especially young girls, in many
countries of the world, including Canada. The campaign urges Canadians
to write to their local MPs, asking them to support a national action
plan to end violence against all children, with a strong focus on
gender in the school context.
"Globally, Canada is recognized as a country committed to promoting the
rights of women and girls, including the right to education," says
Rosemary McCarney, President and CEO of Plan Canada. "Our government
has taken important steps to reducing violence and we applaud that
commitment but there is more work to be done. We know from our
research, and even news headlines, that children frequently experience
bullying and physical or sexual violence. We have an opportunity to
change that, to take action."
A Girl's Right to Learn Without Fear, which defines SRGBV as "acts of sexual, physical, or psychological
violence inflicted on children in and around schools because of their
sex or gender identity," reports that:
Globally, between 500 million and 1.5 billion children experience
violence every year, many in and around the institutions we trust most
- our schools.
In Canada, nearly a quarter of Canadian girls, and at least 15 per cent
of boys, have experienced sexual violence before they reach 16.
Many Canadian children, particularly girls from marginalized
communities, continue to be vulnerable to different forms of violence
within their school lives.
A national Canadian survey also found that almost two-thirds of Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) students
feel unsafe at school and many LGBTQ students, and other students who
don't fit gendered norms, are suffering from frequent incidents of
verbal, physical, and online violence within their school lives.
While it was released here in Canada in December 2012, A Girl's Right to Learn Without Fear will now see its global launch through Plan International's Because I am a Girl initiative at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women on
March 5. This will come just days ahead of this year's International
Women's Day with its theme of "A promise is a promise: Time for action
to end violence against women."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for all governments to
commit to the "adoption and implementation of multi-sectoral national
action plans" through the 'UNiTE to end violence against women and
girls' campaign. Plan's report supports this call, adding that national
action plans should be gender-responsive, take into account the
diversity of experiences and needs of marginalized girls and boys, and
look specifically at violence within the school context.
"All children deserve to feel and be safe in their learning environments
and an education is a critical part of their growth and development as
human beings and as future citizens of our world," adds McCarney.
"Violence in our schools requires our urgent attention and taking the
small but collective action of writing to our MPs is one way Canadians
can drive big change on this important global issue."
Canadians who wish to participate in the letter-writing campaign can do
so online or through a mail-in option. For more information and to get
involved, visit: http://becauseiamagirl.ca/Support-the-right-of-girls-to-learn-without-fear
About Plan and the 'Because I am a Girl' initiative
Founded in 1937, Plan is one of the world's oldest and largest
international development agencies, working in partnership with
millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for
profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan has
only one agenda: to improve the lives of children. Because I am a Girl is Plan's global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls'
rights and lift millions of girls - and everyone around them - out of
poverty. Visit www.plancanada.ca and www.becauseiamagirl.ca for more information.
SOURCE: Plan Canada
For further information:
For media inquiries, contact:
Abigail Brown, Media and Public Relations Manager, Plan Canada
T: 416 920 1654 ext 277 | C: 647 971 3764 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristy Payne, Director of Strategic Communications, Plan Canada
T: 416 920 1654 ext 211 | C: 416 568 6525 | email@example.com