Status of Women Canada Ministerial Transition Book
Federal Gender Violence Strategy and Action Plan


Despite a steady decline in Canada’s overall violent crime rate, rates of violence against women and girls remain pervasive. Women and girls are at higher risk than men and boys of experiencing certain forms of violence, including: sexual violence, intimate partner (or spousal) violence, intimate partner homicide and criminal harassment. Girls are at higher risk than boys of experiencing child luring on the internet, sexual violence and family violence. Certain populations are particularly vulnerable to experiencing violence, including younger women, Indigenous and immigrant women and girls, women and girls with disabilities, and those identifying as lesbian, bisexual and transgender.

A network of Canadian experts, trade unions and non-governmental organizations is calling on the federal government to lead a comprehensive, well-resourced national action plan on this issue. Recent media reports, on abusive police practices, widespread sexual violence and harassment on Canadian campuses, in the military, and online, as well as calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, have highlighted the need for Canada to better address cyberviolence, sexual violence and harassment, and violence against Indigenous women and girls.

Current Status

Canada does not currently have a national action plan on violence against women and girls. Rather, the Government of Canada has tended to take a broad, gender-neutral approach to addressing violence, with the majority of its initiatives focused on family violence and all victims of crime. Many of these efforts fall under the longstanding, interdepartmental Family Violence Initiative (FVI), led by the Public Health Agency of Canada. The issue of violence against women and girls is a specific priority of Status of Women Canada. The Agency’s Women’s Program provides time-limited funding to organizations across Canada for projects aiming to address violence against women and girls. Recent calls for proposals have focused on preventing cyber and sexual violence and fostering partnerships to end violence against women and girls. Other relevant federal initiatives include the Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls, and Canada’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.

Several jurisdictions have provincial plans that take a gender-based approach to addressing violence (e.g. Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec). Many other countries have also implemented national action plans to address violence against women and gender-based violence, with Australia’s 12-year National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children considered the most comprehensive.

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