Speak Out on Violence Against Women, CAW Members Urged

December 10, 2008, 2:12 PM EST

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Police receive 38,000 calls per year across the country to respond to incidents of domestic violence.  In 83 per cent of these cases, women were victims of this violence, said Barb MacQuarrie, community director of the Centre for Research and Education on Violence against Women and Children at the University of Western Ontario.

In a fitting address for the December 6th memorial day, MacQuarrie told delegates that the changes she has seen in the last 25 years in the movement to end violence against women bring her great hope. She recounted a story of a female MP who brought up the issue of domestic violence in the House of Commons back in 1981, only to be ridiculed and laughed at by the majority of male MPs.

Since then though, domestic violence has been put on the public agenda, thanks to the tremendous efforts of activists across the country, she said.

According to MacQuarrie, programs like the CAW's Women's Advocate also raise awareness about violence and better allow women a way out of violent situations. She also called the Woman's Advocate a model program which should be implemented in all workplaces across the country.     

It's important to recognize the many manifestations of abuse that often go beyond physical violence. One delegate told the story of his daughter who was suffering in a psychologically abusive relationship and spoke about the difficulty in recognizing this situation for what it truly is - abusive.

Delegates were also urged to continue pushing their MPPs for changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act to include the right to refuse unsafe work when being harassed, threatened or face violence. In Ontario, this campaign has led to numerous meetings with MPPs, including the current and former ministers of labour.   

For more information on the campaign to change the occupational health and safety act, please visit:  http://petition.web.net/caw/node/1

For more information on the Woman's Advocate program, please visit: http://www.caw.ca/en/3596.htm

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