OTTAWA, Feb. 20, 2015 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said today that federal efforts to improve public health response to victims of violence must include additional commitments and action by all levels of government to ensure proper supports for those affected by family violence and to prevent and address violence against Indigenous women and girls.
"We are still reviewing the details of this announcement but it is positive to see specific investments in training for health professionals and efforts to improve access to mental health counselling for First Nations that use family violence shelters," said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. "We are just one week away from the National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. We expect full federal engagement at the table and follow up to address and prevent violence against women and girls. We will continue to push for a National Public Inquiry to address the root causes of violence and vulnerability."
Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose announced the investment to support victims of violence and their children in Toronto earlier today. The investment will be administered through the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada. AFN Ontario Regional Chief and health portfolio lead Stan Beardy attended the event.
"Today's announcement shows that the federal government is beginning to understand family violence as a determinant of health and that is a welcome step as we continue to call for an holistic response to the health and social challenges faced by First Nations," said AFN Regional Chief Stan Beardy, lead representative for the national Chiefs Committee on Health. "We are calling for an inclusive approach that includes supporting mental wellness and addressing and ending violence across a broad range of factors, including specific investments for housing and infrastructure, shelters and daycares, education and skills training, among others."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Jenna Young Castro, AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789 ext. 401, 613-314-8157, [email protected] OR Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext. 382; 613-292-0857 or [email protected]