Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires, the minister responsible for the status of women, announced the Manitoba government will raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault while sharing information about available resources while attempting to foster a greater understanding of consent as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
“The issue of sexual violence is still deeply pervasive in all sectors of society,” said Squires. “Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a time to reflect on the changes we can all make as leaders, elected officials, individuals and communities to support a culture where sexual violence – whether it takes place in our workplaces, schools, on the street, online, or in our homes – is not tolerated.”
Last month, the province introduced amendments to The Residential Tenancies Act that would enhance supports for survivors of domestic and sexual assault.
The minister stressed the Manitoba government continues to take steps to address sexual harassment and respect in the workplace, with the launch of a new sexual harassment awareness campaign to promote safe working environments.
Last year, the province launched an online resource called You Have Options: Help After Sexual Assault, which offers information on how to recognize sexual assault, navigate the criminal justice system, make a report and find support. The minister noted the resource has now been translated into Spanish, Punjabi, French and Cree, and is available at www.gov.mb.ca/justice/crown/victims/sexualassault.html.
Later this month, the minister will host a lunch and learn event with Dr. Jane Ursel about her research into sexual assault outcomes in the justice system, looking at why the conviction rate is so low. The event will include information from service providers about third-party reporting in Manitoba. More information about the public event will be available at www.manitoba.ca/msw.
The minister noted the province provided $5,000 last year to Ka Ni Kanichihk to develop a brochure about third-party reporting, which will be available in the coming months. The Manitoba government is also collaborating with the City of Winnipeg, as part of its commitment to Winnipeg Safe City, to develop a new card featuring key important information for survivors of sexual violence. These will be distributed at bars, restaurants, schools and other appropriate locations, and will also be available at www.winnipeg.ca/unwpgsafecity.
The minister also encouraged anyone seeking guidance about abuse, harassment, bullying or hazing in sports to call Sport Manitoba’s Support Line (toll-free) at 1-877-737-9875.
The government will use social media to share information about available supports and resources throughout the month of April. Manitobans can participate in the discussion using the hashtags #SAAM2019, #EndSV, #Consent, #SupportSurvivors and #YouAreNotAlone.
For more information on available supports, health information, police information, and information on consent, visit the You Are Not Alone webpage at www.gov.mb.ca/youarenotalone/.