December 5, 1997
ELIMINATING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN REQUIRES THE EFFORTS OF ALL SOCIETAL PARTNERS
Ottawa --On December 6, 1997, Canadians will mark the eighth anniversary of the tragic deaths of 14 young women at the ╔cole Polytechnique in Montreal. In honour of this National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, the Honourable Hedy Fry, Secretary of State (Multiculturalism) (Status of Women) is calling on all Canadians to take action to eliminate violence against women in our society.
"Today is a day not only to remember the loss of the fourteen young women" Dr. Fry said, "but it is also a day to remember all the women who are killed as a result of deliberate acts of violence. As we head towards the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1998, we need to recognize that women should have the fundamental right to live without fear for their safety."
Violence against women touches every Canadian community, and has enormous social and economic costs to these communities, and to the country. In Canada alone, the estimated cost of sexual assault, abuse of girls and women in intimate relationships, and sexual assault against children is $4.2 billion. This is simply the economic costs -- health care, social services, education, and the criminal justice systems. We cannot even begin to put a price on the human costs.
"As Secretary of State (Status of Women) one of my priorities is the elimination of systemic violence against women and children in the home, workplace and streets. The Government of Canada is firmly committed to upholding the commitment we made at the United Nations World Conference on Women in 1995 to take action to prevent and eliminate systemic violence against women," said Dr. Fry.
Significant steps in reducing violence against women have been taken by this government since 1993. Among them are: gun control legislation, strengthening of anti-stalking legislation, creation and upgrading of emergency shelters and second-stage units, and strengthening provisions in relation to dangerous offenders. In May of this year, the Criminal Code was also amended to increase protection of vulnerable women and children against abuse and exploitation. This Bill also strengthens penalties against those who exploit juvenile prostitutes and those who kill the victims they have stalked.
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Status of Women Canada
Office of Honourable Hedy Fry