On June 17th, 2022, the Standing Committee on the Status of Women tabled its report Towards a Violence-Free Canada: Addressing and Eliminating Intimate Partner and Family Violence

This report makes public the committee's findings and proposes 28 recommendations, after hearing from 74 witnesses and receiving 137 briefs from organizations and Canadians across the country.

CNPEA was one of the many organizations that sent a written submission. Our goal was to highlight the pervasive absence of older women in policy and practice considerations when it comes to gender based violence. We emphasized the additional barriers and challenges that older women experience, due to ageism and the ensuing lack of availability of specialized policies and services. We recommended a holistic approach, buidling bridges between the sectors of elder abuse and violence against women prevention and diverse communities in Canada to better respond to the unique needs of older women experiencing intimate partner violence.

We were happy to see that the recently tabled report contains two recommendations that directly relate to older women and their experience of intimate partner violence:

  • Recommendation 2: That the Government of Canada, through relevant federal departments, research intimate partner violence to examine the ways in which experiencing abuse during childhood may affect the intimate relationships of a person later in life.

  • Recommendation 8: That the Government of Canada provide funding to organizations offering supports and services for survivors of intimate partner and family violence, to ensure that older women who are survivors receive supports that meet both their needs as survivors of violence, as well as their aging-related needs.

Other notable recommendations address topics such as:

  • Expanding capacity for the collection of disaggregated data on experiences of intimate partner and family violence for
    • racialized and Indigenous individuals; and
    • individuals with diverse gender and sexual identities.
  • Providing funding to research the prevalence of traumatic brain injuries and their life altering effects on survivors of intimate partner violence.
  • Encouraging "integration and cooperation among the various resource agencies in communities to implement victim-centric practices informed by survivors, the Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and frontline organizations".
  • Supporting and funding services "for newcomers, and providing pathways for women with precarious immigration status who might be vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, as offered through language resources and settlement supports, temporary resident status, and open work permits, in a way that is consistent with the cultural and social context of these communities and implementing culturally based programming that reflect diverse communities by providing sustainable funding for Elders, knowledge keepers, traditional healing centres, ethnic community associations, and newcomer and refugee service centres".

CNPEA looks forward to seeing whether and how these recommendations will be implemented in the future to help address intimate partner and family violence and increase safety and supports for older women and older members of the 2SLGBTQ community.

The report can be accessed on the committee's website at https://www.ourcommons.ca/Committees/en/FEWO. It is also added to cnpea.ca here.


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