NDP

Action on Sexual Violence and Bullying Focuses on Prevention, Improved Response

August 29, 2013


The Action Team on Sexual Violence and Bullying’s progress report received all party endorsement today, Aug. 29.

Premier Darrell Dexter thanked all the community groups and the action team who have worked hard the past four months to address an issue so serious it crosses party lines.

“To help prevent other families from having to go through these tragedies, the province is moving forward with meaningful change and actions, and everyone is working together,” said Premier Dexter.

“Over the last four months, we heard a lot of what we can do differently as a province to address sexual violence,” said Marilyn More, Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women and the lead of the Action Team on Sexual Violence and Bullying. “We’ve listened and we are moving forward based on what Nova Scotians told us. There is a collective will to do things differently.”

The report includes 13 actions that focus on the prevention of sexual violence and bullying, improved responses to victims and supports for survivors.

The report is being endorsed by all parties of the House of Assembly.

“Our province is facing a sexual-assault crisis,” said Liberal leader Stephen McNeil. “This is a non-partisan issue — all parties need to come together to address prevention and services for victims of sexual assault. We need to work together to protect our young people and all Nova Scotians.”

“Protecting children must to be our top priority,” said Progressive Conservative leader Jamie Baillie. “Politics aside, we all must work together on solutions. Our young people have to know there are services available to support them, and that there is always a place to turn.”

The action team met with more than 100 people and community organizations across the province to discuss sexual violence and bullying. The action team will continue to oversee and support the actions in the report.

These include:

— a social marketing campaign to influence behaviour related to bullying and sexual violence, including the Consent campaign that is underway

— engaging a community development expert to monitor progress of community projects

— developing safety protocols with school boards and police

— new resources such as the Parent Handbook on Bullying and Cyberbullying, and the Sexual Assault: safety, help and healing for teens in Nova Scotia guide

— professional development training about sexual violence

“I am pleased that government is taking firm steps to address the bullying, cyberbullying and sexual violence issues we have here in Nova Scotia,” said Margo Tait, superintendent of the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board. “As we embark on a new school year, the recommendations in the report will help guide us to further support students and ensure that our schools are safe places.”

In the spring, the province announced $1.1 million to increase support for people harmed by sexual violence. The investment supports and fosters more collaboration and partnership between organizations that address sexual violence.

The progress report can be found at www.novascotia.ca .