31 Things British Columbia Can Do Right Now to End Violence Against Women

24. Provide safe, affordable and sustainable housing options for women

The intersection of poverty, gendered violence and lack of affordable housing in women’s lives is a key site of intervention in the struggle for women’s safety and equality. Women with low incomes are frequently vulnerably housed – they have to spend more than 50% of their income on crowded and/or unsafe housing, and have to move frequently.  Studies consistently show precariously housed and un-housed women to be at much higher risk of experiencing not only, abuse, and sexual and physical violence, but also acute and chronic mental health crises.  Researchers have also found that the longer women who have experienced violence remain in tenuous housing situations, the more likely they are to return to the situations of violence and abuse they sought to escape.  A nationwide shortage of rental housing—not just subsidized or affordable housing—results in the reality of having to settle for housing located in areas far from schools, support networks, and necessary services, further exacerbating risks for vulnerable women and their children. Provincial anti-homelessness strategies must address these gendered realities.

Women in British Columbia have waited too long already. That is why we are offering 31 things that BC’s new Provincial Office of Domestic Violence (PODV) can push for right now to increase safety for women and to bring us closer than we have ever been to ending violence against women once and for all. We are calling for 31 social, economic and legal changes, none of which are unachievable in this province. Some would require very little financial investment, and each of them will save resources in the long term given the high costs of violence against women.

For more information:

Jane Doe Advocates – 31 Things British Columbia can do Right Now to End Violence Against Women

Follow The Violence Against Women in Relationship Act – 2. Audit for compliance with BC’s Violence Against Women in Relationship policy

3. Address the immediate financial and housing needs of women fleeing violence

4. Enhance access to justice for women – invest in family, immigration and poverty law legal aid services

5. Make addressing women’s inequality a core learning objective for all BC students

6. Add sexual violence by police to the mandate  of the Independent Investigations Office

7. Address the feminization of poverty with a provincial anti-poverty plan

8. Push to add gender and sex to the hate crime provisions of Canada’sCriminal Code

9. Bring back regional coordination committees for women’s safety

10. Join the call for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women

11. Do not let immigration status stand in the way of women’s safety

12. Value the expertise of women’s organizations by investing in their work

13. Make women’s safety the first priority in police response

14. Create binding guidelines on the use of psychological testing and labeling in child custody and child protection cases

15. Train and support specialized Crown Counsel for cases involving gender violence

16. Ensure women have access to interpretation in interaction with police, courts, social workers and other decision-makers

17. Increase access to gender appropriate drug treatment and harm reduction services

18. Monitor and evaluate the implementation and interpretation of BC’s new Family Law Act

19. Hold offenders accountable for impacts on children of violence against women

20. Take action on women-blaming and women-shaming in all its forms

21. Do not force abused women in to parenting programs or counseling

22. Get perpetrators of violence against women in front of the courts quickly

23. Work with the anti-violence sector to develop training for all first responders and decision-makers

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