WINNIPEG, MB. - The Manitoba Government is providing $6.4 million to support survivors of sexual violence.
The funding will support victims of crime, including proposals for new and expanded work with victims of crime, gender-based violence, or in response to missing and murdered indigenous women and girl’s inquiry recommendations.
I have recently read a story written by a victim that moved me. A person close to me is a victim of sexual abuse, and I hear how afraid people are to speak. I can appreciate how difficult it must be for these individuals.
It’s challenging for survivors of assaults and domestic violence to be vocal on their experiences and opinions in public forums, including with members of the public service, within legislative settings, and council or committee meetings.
The lack of voice from survivors of assaults and domestic violence excludes a portion of the population from participation in critical democratic processes, influencing how the public service, police, and society view and deal with assaults and domestic violence.
The City of Winnipeg already takes steps to remove barriers to accessing and participating in the democratic processes and governance of the City of Winnipeg in areas such as disabilities, age, newcomers, indigenous cultural practices, and French-language rights.
An essential function of democracy is to give voice to those marginalized and silenced by current societal cultures and associated governance structures.
Breaking down barriers to participation in the democratic process and civic governance is recognized to be beneficial to the City and society as a whole, and not only for the individuals facing the barriers.
The City has developed an Accessibility Plan, last updated in 2019. The Accessibility Plan must be reviewed at least every two years under the Accessibility for Manitobans Act, with a review required in 2021
For these reasons, I am asking the Executive Policy Committee to direct the Winnipeg Public Service to report back on a process to allow citizens who are survivors of assaults and sexual violence to remain anonymous when participating in the Council committee process.
Once we have added this to our accessibility Plan, I will be advocating for the Winnipeg Police Board to follow suit and provide a safe place to be heard.