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Taking Action - Making Change

We all have a role in creating the world we want. We are the ones we have been waiting for. Speak truth to power in a way that can be heard.

BBWON is committed to making the essential work of community coordination more visible and to strengthening our collective coordination muscle. VAWCCs can be a strategic resource in communities and a strong partner for government, providing access to local expertise and experience on VAW issues to better inform policy and funding directions and decisions. It is the role of the VAW sector to speak up and speak back whenever women’s safety is at risk. Constructive system critique using an intersectional framework should be seen as a vital activity. This means that there will always be a necessary tension in partnering with government. Yet partnering is essential and also possible, so long as the different roles of community and government can be respected. The large common goal to end violence in our communities is what unites and aligns our efforts across all divides.

The New Imperative

  1. Sisters In Spirit
  2. Pushing Back - the PAR crisis
  3. The Men’s Action Plan

What is ‘The New Imperative’?

We need a ‘new imperative’ of violence prevention in Ontario that works towards social justice and gender equality as a unified effort across sectors, communities and governments. The Building a Bigger Wave Ontario Network has a shared goal to end violence against women and children. This is our unique contribution to a just society.

ACTIONS TAKEN:

  • Building our VAWCC infrastructure to support dialogue at local tables, provincial leaders in VAW and the government
  • Proposed in The New Imperative (hyperlink report) is a request to the Premier to prioritize prevention
    Specifically the request is to link and build on past investments such as the Domestic and Sexual Violence Action Plans to create an overarching Ontario Violence Prevention Strategy and Action Plan that tackles root causes through primary and secondary prevention across the lifespan.

Sisters in Spirit

Sisters In Spirit is an ongoing action item for BBWON following from the 2011 Forum to show solidarity with the families of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada. VAWCCs committed to supporting the Sisters In Spirit vigils every year on October 4th as a way to build relationships in our communities with First Nations and indigenous leaders and organizations. In the first year, thirty-five VAWCCs reported participation in their local vigils and/or contributed in some way by educating their membership and staff. Stories about the vigils appear in the BBW newsletter every fall. You will find more information about how we can educate and inform ourselves to better support our indigenous peoples here.


Pushing Back – the PAR crisis

The role of the VAW sector is to speak up and speak back whenever risk to women’s safety comes into question. This means that there will always be a necessary tension in partnering with government. Yet partnering is essential and also possible so long as the different roles can be respected. When the Ministry of Attorney General (MAG) made changes to the Partner Assault Program (PAR) to reduce the program from 16 – 12 weeks and then to implement a new highly contested funding formula that is based on referral numbers. The reaction in the community, led to a broad-based push back on the insularity of traditional government decision-making processes. PAR is an important component of a whole community response to ending Violence Against Women. MAG has been unable to offer any evidence or rationale to support the decisions and VAW community leaders and advocates expressed significant concerns about the erosion of the PAR program. They expressed those concerns by naming it a ‘crisis’.