Harper Government Announces $100M Investment to Support Victims of Violence and Their Children

Investment focuses on helping communities and health professionals to prevent, detect and combat family violence and child abuse.

TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2015 /CNW/ - Today, Minister of Health Rona Ambrose announced a 10-year, $100 million investment to prevent, detect and combat family violence and child abuse, just one of the many ways the Government of Canada is delivering on its commitment to stand up for victims.

Family violence is an important issue that unfortunately affects many Canadians across the country.

Long-term exposure to family violence can have devastating health affects on victims including, substance abuse, mental illness, suicidal behaviours, and chronic illnesses such as heart disease. The impacts are far reaching, affecting communities, workplaces, and society as a whole.

The investment will support victims of violence and their children through a multi-faceted approach that will:

  • Better equip health professionals with the information and training they need to safely support victims of domestic violence and child abuse;
  • Improve the health and well-being of victims of violence in their communities;
  • Enhance access to mental health counselling for victims of violence; and
  • Support and enhance organizations and partnerships that provide integrated services to victims of violence.

The investment will be administered through the Public Health Agency of Canada ($7 million/year) and Health Canada ($3 million/year), for a total of $10 million annually for the next 10 years.

This investment will cover a wide variety of programming across sectors, designed to support victims' physical and mental well-being.  Examples may range from peer support groups to using different types of physical activity to aid in victims' recovery and healing from violence. 

The first project to be supported through this investment is a $4.1 million project over three years to develop pan-Canadian guidance and education materials that will help health professionals better support the needs of victims of violence. This project will be led by the Preventing Violence Across the Lifespan (PreVAiL) research network and the BC Centre of Excellence for Women's Health.

In addition, today, the Minister launched a Call for Proposals for organizations to submit applications to advance community-based projects that support victims of domestic violence and child abuse and those at risk of these forms of violence.

 Quick Facts

  • Family violence refers to a range of abusive behaviours that occur within relationships, including physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse, as well as neglect. Domestic violence and child abuse are two predominant forms of family violence.
  • In 17% of family violence cases, the accused was a parent. In 11% of cases, the accused was the victim's child.
  • In 2011, family violence accounted for approximately 25% of all violent crimes reported to police. This figure is underestimated given that many incidents go unreported. Nearly half of all victims of family violence were victimized by a current or former spouse.
  • In Canada, almost 7 of 10 family violence victims are female and 30% of Canadian women experience intimate partner violence at some point in their lifetime.
  • In 2009, the estimated total economic impact of spousal violence in Canada was $7.4 billion. This figure includes costs to the justice system and the costs borne by victims and their family members.
  • The Government of Canada has taken a number of steps to help victims of violence, including, launching a new one stop shop webpage for information "Stop Family Violence", stronger criminal justice measures, increased funding to preventing violence against women and girls. This announcement follows three national roundtables on family violence co-hosted by Minister Ambrose: one at the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in March, 2014; one as a side event to the Maternal and Child Health Global Summit in Toronto in May 2014; and one at the Canadian Centre for Child Protection in December, 2014.

Quotes

"Family violence has very serious and lasting impacts on the health and mental wellbeing of those who are victimized by it.  Our Government is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all Canadians and will continue to stand up for victims of violence.  It is my hope that through this investment we will be able to better support victims of violence and their children, wherever they live, so that they may heal and rebuild their lives toward a healthier future."
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"I have been active in the area of ending family violence and specifically ending violence against women for most of my life.  For the first time, we are seeing these issues being talked about in public and through mainstream media.  I want to thank all of community organizations, health professionals and stakeholders who have worked tirelessly in helping on the issue of violence and supporting victims. Whether it is elder abuse, child abuse and neglect, child sexual abuse or domestic violence, we all have a role to play in ensuring a healthier future."
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"I want to congratulate Minister Ambrose and the Government of Canada for the leadership you are showing in helping Canadians who are victims of domestic violence and child abuse. These are serious public health challenges. This investment will make a real difference for children and families."
Sheldon Kennedy
Child Abuse Advocate

"Family violence is a major public health problem in Canada with devastating consequences for children, women, families and communities. Health professionals are an important part of the solution. This investment will have important health benefits for Canadians by ensuring the provision of safe and effective care to those who have suffered from family violence."
Dr. Harriet MacMillan
Lead Researcher, Preventing Violence Across the Lifespan Research Network (PreVAiL)
McMaster University

"As a multi-service agency serving infants, young children and their families, Mothercraft is acutely aware of the many ways family violence and child abuse negatively impact health outcomes.  Community-based programs help to minimize the effects of abuse and violence by building resiliency and improving the health and well-being of those who have experienced it.  We welcome the Minister's announcement and the federal government's commitment to address these serious issues."
Margaret Leslie
Director of Early Intervention at Canadian Mothercraft Society

"Police officers see first hand some of the serious effects of family violence in our communities. We welcome this investment which will help ensure that victims of violence receive effective services and supports in their communities to help them rebuild their lives and their health."
Chief Kimberley Greenwood
Chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Victims of Crime Committee

Related Products

Stop Family Violence

Associated Links

Call for Proposals

 

SOURCE Public Health Agency of Canada

For further information: Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Federal Minister of Health, (613) 957-0200; Media Relations, Public Health Agency of Canada, (613) 957-2983

RELATED LINKS
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

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