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In February 2021, PATHS conducted a consultation in Saskatchewan as part of YWCA Canada’s Community Engagement Initiative to inform the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. The results of PATHS consultation, as well as those conducted by other organizations across Canada are currently being analyzed by Women and Gendered Equality (WAGE) Canada to inform the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.
In addition, Women’s Shelters Canada (WSC) has brought together a group of experts from across Canada, who are tasked with prioritizing key areas of focus for the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. PATHS Executive Director Jo-Anne Dusel is co-chairing the Supports for Survivors and Their Families Working Group.
As part of the community consultation process, PATHS consulted our member agencies (domestic violence shelters and services) and conducted a survey that was open to the public, with additional questions available for professionals who work in the GBV sector. PATHS also provided responses to consultation questions based on our work, including recommendations from our recent project Promoting Access to Justice for Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence in Saskatchewan (in partnership with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice, funded by the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan) and numerous other projects.
Respondents to the survey included 171 Saskatchewan residents of diverse ages, backgrounds, and occupations, living in urban and rural communities from the north to the south of the province.
According to survey respondents, key actions that should be addressed as part of the National Action Plan include legal reforms; services for rural, remote, and northern communities; housing; funding for gender-based violence services; education and awareness initiatives; financial resources; services and supports; and collaboration. Affordable housing, accessible and affordable childcare, accessible and affordable transportation, and economic security (living wage/adequate minimum wage) were indicated by respondents as needs to be addressed urgently.
Respondents shared many ideas of areas that they would like to see expanded, including domestic violence shelters, second stage shelters, and outreach services; interventions for people who use violence; programming rooted in Indigenous culture; education in schools; and services for rural, remote, and northern communities. Survey responses highlight the need for secure, adequate, and ongoing funding for gender-based violence services, changes to policing (training for police officers, creation of crisis teams that include police and gender-based violence professionals), training for medical and legal professionals, and improved legal/justice system responses.
The National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence is expected in Spring 2021.