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International Women’s Day Gallery 2018

Despite the winter weather, the Status of Women and our community partners celebrated another rollicking International Women’s Day!

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate and to keeping pushing for equality: Hon. Sean Casey MP, Deputy Speaker and MLA Kathleen Casey, RCMP Chief Superintendent Jennifer Ebert; speakers Jillian Kilfoil, Paola Soto, Jen Tividad, Maram ElSenary, and Bayan Radhi; and dancers Garima Mishra and Rinku Upadhyaya, Jordan Legere, and Samantha Lewis (Executive Director of the Aboriginal Women’s Association).

Financial and time resources were contributed by local unions, women’s, and social justice organizations (see complete sponsor list at the end of the photo gallery). A special thanks to the women of the IWD Organizing Committee who arranged for all the participatory activities and excellent presentations: Paola Soto, Ann Wheatley, Debbie and Ellie Langston, Amy Clerk, Nancy Clement, Taylor Carruthers, Hannah Gehrels, Donna Dingwell, and Mistress of Ceremonies Farahnaz Rezaei.

(You can view the photos by scrolling down on this page or click on the first photo and flip through the photo carousel that displays, using the arrows).

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IWD GALLERY

 

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International Women’s Day 2018 #HerToo / Journée internationale des femmes 2018 #ElleAussi

International Women’s Day 2018 #HerToo

As we come together to celebrate International Women’s Day 2018 (March 8), let us be reminded of the many achievements that women have accomplished as we strive to meet our full potential. We recognize the many ways women contribute to creativity and success in our global community, yet IWD is a day that slips by with little acknowledgement in Canada.

The year 2017 brought forward the #MeToo movement, which brought solidarity with women who have been sexually harassed and assaulted. The #MeToo movement was initiated by American activist Tarana Burke more than a decade ago, and has gathered strength from celebrities speaking out about sexual harassment in their lives. All over the world women and men are refusing to be shamed and silenced any longer. The time has come for gender equality in homes and workplaces. The time has come for women to be who they are and love whom they choose. The time has come for women to be free from violence and harassment.

We know that violence does not discriminate. We also know that just being a woman means overcoming countless obstacles daily. We live in sexist societies, but living in poverty, or with racism, or without access to basic human rights expands the likelihood of abuse and mistreatment. So today, especially, we say #HerToo. We take a broader look around the world at the realities women face and know that we have a long way to go to achieving true equality.

From the Global Citizen Website, here are some facts that show why we need to think about #HerToo – why we need greater equality now:

  1. In 2015, there were only 21 female heads of state in the entire world.
  2. Over 150 countries have at least one actively sexist law.
  3. Each minute, 28 girls are married before they are ready.
  4. At least 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime.
  5. In most countries, women only earn between 60% and 75% of men’s wages, for the same work.
  6. There are approximately 781 million adults worldwide lacking literacy – and two-thirds of them are women.
  7. Around the world, 63 million girls still need to go to school.

Yvonne_Deagle-chairperson_PEIACSW

 

Today, on International Women’s Day, let us celebrate our successes as women, and let us also use our power to raise up the voices of women around the world fighting to be safe, free and thriving citizens.

 

Yvonne Deagle is the newly appointed Chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

 

 


Journée internationale des femmes 2018 #ElleAussi

Fre-IWDAlors que nous nous rassemblons pour célébrer la Journée internationale des femmes 2018 en ce 8 mars, souvenons-nous des nombreuses réalisations que les femmes ont accomplies tout en nous employant à réaliser notre plein potentiel. Nous reconnaissons les nombreuses façons que les femmes contribuent à la créativité et au succès de notre collectivité mondiale, pourtant la Journée internationale des femmes est une journée qui passe presque inaperçue au Canada.

Le mouvement #MoiAussi (#MeToo en anglais) a vu le jour en 2017, créant une vague de solidarité pour les femmes qui ont été harcelées ou agressées sexuellement. Le mouvement avait été lancé par l’activiste américaine Tarana Burke il y a plus d’une décennie, mais il a été renforcé par les célébrités qui ont dénoncé le harcèlement sexuel dans leurs vies. Des femmes et des hommes de partout au monde refusent dorénavant de se taire ou d’avoir honte. Il est grand temps qu’il y ait égalité des sexes au foyer comme au bureau. Il est grand temps que les femmes soient fières d’être qui elles sont et d’aimer la personne de leur choix. Il est grand temps que les femmes vivent sans violence et harcèlement.

Nous savons que la violence n’est pas discriminatoire. Et nous savons également que le simple fait d’être une femme signifie qu’il y aura d’innombrables obstacles à surmonter chaque jour. Nous vivons dans des sociétés sexistes, mais le fait de vivre dans la pauvreté, d’être confrontée au racisme ou de ne pas avoir accès aux droits fondamentaux de la personne augmente la probabilité de sévices et de mauvais traitements. Alors aujourd’hui, surtout, nous disons #ElleAussi (#HerToo en anglais). Nous examinons de plus près les réalités auxquelles les femmes de partout au monde se heurtent, et nous constatons qu’il reste encore beaucoup à faire pour atteindre une véritable égalité.

Voici quelques faits, tirés du site Web Global Citizen, qui montrent pourquoi nous devons réfléchir à #ElleAussi – pourquoi nous avons besoin d’une plus grande égalité : [Traduction]

  1. En 2015, on comptait seulement 21 femmes chefs d’État dans le monde entier.
  2. Plus de 150 pays disposent d’au moins une loi sexiste.
  3. Chaque minute, 28 filles sont mariées avant qu’elles soient prêtes.
  4. Au moins une femme sur trois dans le monde a subi de la violence physique ou sexuelle à un moment donné de sa vie.
  5. Dans la plupart des pays, les femmes gagnent seulement entre 60 % et 75 % du salaire des hommes, pour le même travail.
  6. Environ 781 millions d’adultes dans le monde sont analphabètes – et les deux tiers d’entre eux sont des femmes.
  7. Autour du monde, 63 millions de filles doivent continuer d’aller à l’école.

Yvonne_Deagle-chairperson_PEIACSW
Aujourd’hui, en cette Journée internationale des femmes, célébrons les succès des femmes et utilisons notre pouvoir pour faire valoir les voix des femmes de partout dans leur combat pour la liberté, la sécurité et la prospérité.

Yvonne Deagle est la nouvelle présidente du Conseil consultatif sur la situation de la femme de l’Î.-P.-É.

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Happy International Women’s Day 2018

Mark Your Calendars!

Thursday, March 8th, 2018
3:00pm – 6:00pm
Trinity United Church Hall
220 Richmond Street
Charlottetown

All are welcome to attend.

Come join us to celebrate International Women’s Day! We will be singing, sharing experiences, and of course DANCING! There will be a kids station and lots of opportunity for everyone to be playful. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity worldwide.

Refreshments provided. This is a FREE event – open to every age and gender.

For details contact Michelle at info@peistatusofwomen.ca or 902-368-4510.

Facebook Event Page


As of March 7, 2018

Getting excited for our International Women’s Day event!

A few treats we have in store:
* Singing the “new” revised Canadian anthem with MP Sean Casey (who brought the motion to the House of Parliament)
* Greetings from the province by Minister Paula Biggar
* ACSW Chairperson Yvonne Deagle’s IWD message
* 4 women’s perspectives on IWD
* Bollywood dance steps with Garima Mishra and Rinku Upadhyaya
* Bboyizm dance demo by Jordan Legere
* Indigenous Round Dance led by Samantha Lewis and Barbara Bernard
* Kate Dempsey leading us in singing Bread and Roses

The afternoon will be MC’d by the wonderful Farahnaz Rezaei. There will be a kids corner, refreshments, and lots of opportunity to get to know one another.

This is a FREE event, open to all genders. The Trinity Hall is accessible. Women, men, and children are all welcome.


Organizers:

  • PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada
  • Cooper Institute
  • Canadian Union of Public Sector Employees
  • Women’s Network PEI
  • PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women
  • PEI Interministerial Women’s Secretariat

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Service Awards Presented at Recent Council Meeting

Three members of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women completed their maximum five-year terms this January and “graduated” from the Council. At Council’s January meeting in Cornwall, continuing Council members and staff presented all three with service awards recognizing their many contributions to Council’s work. Mari Basiletti, Melissa Mullen, and Patti Wheatley all provided wonderful service to the Council, and we will miss them very much.

For more information about each woman’s work on the Council, please read the individual awards below:

service-awards-group

L-R: Melissa Mullen, Treasurer; Mari Basiletti, Chairperson; and Patti Wheatley, Council member; pose for a photo following the presentation of service awards at a recent Council meeting in Cornwall.

Service Award – The PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women thanks Mari Basiletti

Mari Basiletti of Canoe Cove has served on the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women since 2013 and as Chairperson since 2016. Mari was the first out lesbian woman ever appointed to Council as a member and as Chairperson. We are so proud that she openly shared her love of her partner and their family at the Council table. Mari’s patience, kindness, integrity, and love of women inform everything she does. Her experience working in mental health with people who experienced trauma, abuse, stigmatization, and marginalization helped guide our work with compassion. She shared her great skills as a listener, a dedicated worker and contributor, an artist, and a good friend with Council members and staff. Mari loves her community, and what she considers her community is broad and inclusive.

Thank you, Mari, for your loving and conscientious leadership to help the PEIACSW advance the status of women in PEI.

Service Award – The PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women thanks Melissa Mullen

Melissa Mullen has served as a member of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women since 2013. Melissa is always accessible to her community to bring forward issues to the Council table, and she represents her community well, whether farmers, rural women, artists, or caregivers to youth and older adults. Melissa attended and participated in Council special events, often helping to carry the load with not only physical work, but also the emotional work of building and maintaining relationships of mutual respect. She took a special interest in study groups on Truth and Reconciliation and Women in Canada of the past 50 years. Melissa is creatively driven and ready to go deep in her learning. She is passionate, steady, and unwavering in her work for change to improve Island life for women and families.

Thank you, Melissa, for your dedicated and committed work to help the PEIACSW advance the status of women in PEI.

Service Award – The PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women thanks Patti Wheatley

Patti Wheatley has served as a member of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women since 2013. Patti’s feminism is both instinctive and well-informed, a balance that makes her an essential contributor to the Advisory Council’s analysis. Patti’s strong legal mind and training, her curiosity, and her experience as a valued volunteer with equality-seeking organizations contributed tremendously to Council. Her willingness to ask incisive, challenging questions ensured Council positions that go beyond obvious or easy recommendations and, instead, call for more meaningful and lasting change for Island women and families. We are grateful that Patti shared her early experiences of parenting with Council and that we had her daughter at our meetings, inspiring us to work for the next generation.

Thank you, Patti, for your strong and intelligent insight to help the PEIACSW advance the status of women in PEI.

Council members and staff gathered for a photo at their January meeting in Cornwall: Back row L-R: Jane Ledwell, Becky Tramley, Patti Wheatley, Madison Blanchard, Michelle Jay, Melissa Mullen, and Debbie Langston. Front row L-R: Yvonne Deagle, Mari Basiletti, and Diana Lariviere (Missing from photo: Council members Lalana Paul and Pam Montgomery).

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2017 Memorial Service Gallery

The selection of photos below are from the December 6, 2017 Memorial Service for Victims of Violence held at the Confederation Centre of the Arts (venue sponsor). Thanks to everyone who attended the service and participated in the 2017 Purple Ribbon Campaign Against Violence.

We remember 1989
28 Years Since the Montreal Massacre

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you would prefer to view photos individually, view it at this link:

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Child Protection Act Review: Council’s Advice to Government

freeimages.com

Earlier this autumn, after much study and review, members of the Advisory Council on the Status of Women submitted advice to government regarding the Child Protections Act review recommendations released in January of this year in an excellent, comprehensive report created by a government-appointed advisory committee. Council has now provided their advice to the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, the Minister of Family and Human Services, and the Premier and is pleased to make its advice public.

Council would like to note that since developing and submitting this document, there have been several new developments. We have learned, for instance, that home studies for kinship placements are being expedited, as recommended, and that policies for social worker interactions with children in need of protection are changing significantly, informed by the voices of youth who have experience with Child Protection. These are good-news updates. We hope that there is more good news to come.

Among other developments to track in 2018:

  1. Establishment of a Poverty Reduction Strategy Advisory Council to develop a poverty reduction strategy and any progress on a social policy framework
  2. A promise that new supports for grandparents and caregivers to children in need of protection will extend beyond the current “interim phase” support for grandparents and caregivers of children with open child protection services
  3. Implementation of the “Structured Decision-Making” model recommended in the Child Protection Act review; the software to support this model HAS been included in the capital budget, which is good news.

We look forward to continuing to monitor developments in Child Protection.


Priority Recommendations Coming Out of the Child Protection Act Review Released in January 2017

Prince Edward Island Advisory Council on the Status of Women

INTRODUCTION

The members of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women, with care and concern for the wellbeing of women, children, and families, and with a mandate to advise government on issues that affect the status of Prince Edward Island women, has been reviewing the recommendations coming out of the Child Protection Act review released in January. It is our view that the report and its recommendations are excellent, and we support them strongly. For the last number of months, we have been studying the recommendations with a view to support several recommendations we see as having a high priority.

We know that during this same time that we have been studying the recommendations, government has been working hard to implement recommendations. We are heartened to know this work is underway. We were particularly heartened to hear government’s announcement that it will financially support grandparents and other loved ones who are caring for children in need of protection. It is our hope that this brief on the priorities that we see, as citizens appointed by government to provide our advice, will complement and support government’s ongoing work to implement recommendations.

The preamble to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child considers family “as the fundamental group of society and the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children,” and therefore sees that the family “should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community.” This is the human rights framework in which child protection legislation must be applied to fully support the best interests of children: “protection” and “assistance” for families to be responsible for children, before the state, where necessary for a child’s protection and assistance, removes that child from the family.

In summary, what Council members would like to see are protections and assistance to families in cases where these have a strong probability of supporting children’s welfare. And, where children must be removed from their families for their safety and wellbeing, protection and assistance must follow the children.

We want to see the Child Protection Act outline services to children in need and high needs children and youth as well as to children in need of protection who have experienced harm or who are at substantial risk of harm. This requires systemic change.

As many expressed in the Child Protection Act review, systemic change requires collaborative, integrated approaches that include families, communities, and government, each playing a part to fulfill our responsibility to children.

PRIORITIES IDENTIFIED BY THE ADVISORY COUNCIL

Council members wanted to use this brief to provide guidance about what recommendations rose to the top as immediate priorities. The following are the priorities for public policy–focused recommendations and service delivery–focused recommendations.

First Public Policy Priority: Establish Mechanisms for Effective Data Collection and Measurement of Outcomes

As Council members studied the Child Protection Act review, what stood out foremost were the gaps in data and measurement outlined in the report. As a first step, we put high and urgent priority on government action on public policy–focused Recommendations #9–14 regarding data collection and measurement of outcomes. Without the underpinning of good data collection and strong measurement of outcomes, the effectiveness of any further action on these important recommendations cannot be known.

First Service Delivery Priority: Support for Least Intrusive Living Arrangements and Expedited Kinship Placements

Council members, like many others who participated in the Child Protection Act review, expressed confusion between least intrusive living arrangements and kinship placements. As we came to understand the difference between these interventions, and the roles of the state and of the family in each, Council members were firm in expressing a desire for government to act on service delivery–focused Recommendations #31–34 regarding least intrusive arrangements and Recommendation #35 regarding expedited Kinship Foster Parent assessments.

Most important within these recommendations is the importance of providing supports and assistance to support those who take on a role as caregivers to children in a “least-intrusive” arrangement: grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and others who take over the care of children in need require help and assistance. It is important, first, to ensure that if poverty is the primary reason that children are in need of protection, better supports should be available to parents to keep and care for their children themselves. When children need to be in a different home from their parents, financial supports to grandparents, other family members, and friends who already have close relationships with the children are essential. When a formal Kinship Foster Parent placement is the best solution, Kinship Foster Parents require additional support to help them overcome barriers in their homes to being eligible as foster homes.

As the Province examines a Provincial Housing Strategy, we urge government to consider programs that support housing for families, including grants and loans for renovations that support caregiving to children, vulnerable adults, and seniors.

Council members strongly support the new measures government has announced to support grandparents, family, and friends caring for children in need. This is a substantial positive measure for children’s wellbeing and protection.

Lack of means or of immediate supports should not be a barrier to people who are willing to take care and responsibility for children in need of protection, especially if those children are children whom they love and are already attached to.

It should be noted that the members of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women take a broad view of “kinship” and an inclusive definition of “family,” such as that used by the Vanier Institute of the Family, which begins, “Any combination of two or more persons who are bound together over time by ties of mutual consent, birth and/or adoption or placement and who, together, assume responsibilities…” (The full definition is available here: http://vanierinstitute.ca/definition-family/.)

Equality Report Card Priority Actions and Child Protection Act Recommendations

The PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women assesses government’s progress towards selected women’s equality goals through the Equality Report Card. The priority actions our Council recommends for government were made public and shared in June 2016 and include a number of priorities that align or overlap with the recommendations in the Child Protection Act review.

Recommendation #4. That Government commit to implementing a comprehensive poverty reduction strategy to include multiple social policy departments through public engagement while working with the Federal Government to determine the best means of income and program support for our Island population to include exploring mechanisms for ending child and family poverty in PEI, including the benefits and costs of PEI serving as a pilot site for implementation of a Basic Income Guarantee.”

In the preamble to the section on Women’s Economic Status, the Equality Report Card calls for “responsive and flexible social programs and an effective cross- governmental provincial strategy to reduce or eliminate poverty.”

Two of the priority action areas in this section of the Report Card are the following:

  • Increased social assistance rates that ensure individuals and families are able to meet their basic needs, including steps towards implementing a basic income guarantee for all Islanders
  • An expanded mandate for social assistance programs to support more economically vulnerable Islanders (including, for example, increased eligibility, more access to flexible short-term emergency support, more support for people to transition from social assistance to independent livelihood)

These priority action recommendations strongly support Recommendation #4.

Recommendation #5. That the province adopt a population approach to mental health and addictions that recognizes the importance of and provides resources for promotion and prevention, early identification, timely and appropriate intervention, and ongoing support, and that the presence of children in a family be taken into account when prioritizing access to services.”

It is our view that this recommendation adds substance and values that we support to the Equality Report Card priority action under Women’s Health that calls for

  • Increased funding and services in mental health in community mental health and other non-urgent and preventative care, including gender-specific services

Recommendation #6. The Advisory Committee recommends that the province continue with widespread implementation of the Triple P Positive Parenting Program, the Positive Parenting From Two Homes Program and the Period of Purple Crying Program.”

The PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women has been strongly supportive of parenting programs and specifically recommends in the section on Supports for Caregiving:

  • Continued support for and promotion of the “Triple P” positive parenting program for PEI

Recommendation #15. That government establish effective mechanisms to ensure that the basic rights and freedoms of children are maintained, that they are afforded the opportunity to participate in matters that affect them, and that their voices are heard by a neutral third party not connected to government services.”

In our view, the most “effective mechanism to ensure that the basic rights and freedoms of children” is without question a child and youth advocate, and under the section on Access to Justice, the Equality Report Card priority actions call for

  • Steps towards establishing a provincial child and youth advocacy office or other mechanisms to serve children and youth involved in provincial government systems (such as independent case review, policy audits, and arms-length reporting to the Legislature and the public on issues)

While government has established new services or enhanced existing services to meet some of the goals outlined in the Child Protection Act review Recommendation #15, we remain convinced that Prince Edward Island requires an independent child advocate office.
We see the hiring of a Children’s Lawyer as a valuable and important step to fulfilling parts of Recommendation #15, and, more pertinently, Recommendation #16. And yet, we acknowledge that a Children’s Lawyer is not a child advocate.

Recommendation #18: That the province establish a Child Death and Serious Injury Review process and a Domestic Homicide Review process, each to be operational by 30 June 2017.”

While calling for a Child Death and Serious Injury and a Domestic Homicide review processes is not a specific priority action called for in the 2018 Equality Report Card, the 2015 Equality Report Card called for these processes: “We join the call for Domestic Violence Death Reviews and Child Death and Serious Injury Reviews for PEI.” We are an active part of the Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention, which calls for these processes as well.

In addition to implementing Prince Edward Island death and serious injury reviews, we amplify this recommendation by recommending that those charged with death and serious injury reviews examine relevant reviews from other jurisdictions in any six-month period when there is no local review. We should, as a province, learn from elsewhere to proactively prevent deaths and serious injury, in addition to responding to local preventable tragic events.

Recommendation #25: That Child Protection Services conduct a jurisdictional scan regarding utilization of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in child protection matters and, in consultation with appropriate government and community partners, establish policies and procedures regarding utilization of ADR in this province.”

Among 2018 Equality Report Card priority actions for Access to Justice is the following:

  • Steps towards expanded resources for family mediation, counselling, and conflict resolution that reduce/prevent families from requiring legal proceedings

We acknowledge that alternative dispute resolution would require gender and diversity analysis to avoid unintended negative outcomes. ADR is not advisable or safe in all circumstances; these alternative resolution mechanisms may not be appropriate in situations where there is an imbalance of power, abuse, or violence.

Recommendation #21. That Child Protection Services develop and implement protocols for when it is deemed necessary to share information with the other parent to ensure that the child is protected from harm.”

This recommendation for an information-sharing protocol and other recommendations related to information sharing strike us as essential, and it is extremely important that protocols be sensitive to the dynamics of violence against women and of family violence. The preamble to the Violence Prevention section of the Equality Report Card calls for “government services to be gender appropriate, culturally sensitive, and trauma-informed.” (We note that Recommendation #43 also calls for “a trauma informed approach to group care … in all Child & Family Services group homes.”)

One of the most troubling, recurrent stories we hear from women who have left abusive relationships is that ex-partners and/or their families use reports to child protection as a way to continue abuse, manipulation, and control. One woman whose experience of abuse included reports to child protection meant to control, shame, humiliate, and create fear in her of losing her child(ren) told us her story. She said, “I would rather be punched in the head every day than go through what I am going through.”

As a result of stories such as this one, one priority action called for in the 2018 Equality Report Card is

  • Use of best-practice, updated, or new tools to prevent or respond to violence, including woman abuse/spousal abuse protocols and policies and/or risk assessment tools

Other recommendations that call for protocols or policies and procedures of particular interest include Recommendation #50: That Child Protection Services develop policies and procedures for the delivery of child protection services to children between the ages of sixteen (16) and eighteen (18) years of age and an abandoned child.

Services, policies, and procedures for the group of children between the ages of 16 and 18 require particular scrutiny with a gender and diversity lens. The risks and vulnerabilities for young women in this age group are different from those of young men. Similarly, recommendations related to extended services for young people after they are 18 years old should be subject to gender and diversity analysis before they are implemented.

Recommendation #52. That Child Protection Service staff, and staff with such other services as might be identified by the Senior Leadership Group, undergo periodic training regarding family violence and its impacts upon children, such training to be comprised of interventions with demonstrated evidence for enhancing participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and/or skills.”

The recommendation for training regarding family violence and its impacts upon children is clearly echoed in the following priority action for the 2018 Equality Report Card:

  • Examples of training for intervention in family violence, relationship violence, and violence against women and children for front-line workers such as police, justice workers, and child protection workers

Support for Additional Resources

In conclusion, the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women joins its voice to the voices that call in the Child Protection Act review report for additional resources in Recommendation #17, and wherever additional resources are necessary for the safety and care of Island children.

Recommendation #17. The Advisory Committee recommends that the senior leadership group referenced in recommendation two (2) develop a plan for a broader child welfare system promoting healthy child and family development and addressing “children in need” and “high needs children and youth” and that includes (i) allocating substantial additional resources to Child and Family Services; or (ii) allocating substantial additional resources to other governmental and community services; or (iii) such combination of (i) and (ii) as would be most effective and efficient.”

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Treena Smith’s December 6, 2017, Comments: Don’t stand by. Stand with.

We were honoured to have Treena Smith as the speaker at the Charlottetown, PEI, 2017, Montreal Massacre Memorial Service, hosted by the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

We invited Treena to speak because of her work leading pro-social bystander intervention training through her work as Director of Student Affairs at UPEI. Treena also has an extensive background working with offenders and gives a lot of her volunteer time to work with the LGBTQ+ community and the Canadian Mental Health Association. Below are a video of her comments, followed by a transcript.
Thank you so much, Treena, for being part of a meaningful and moving service.

Hi everyone – My name is Treena Smith and I am the Director of Student Affairs at UPEI.

I would like to thank Michelle Jay, Jane Ledwell and the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women for asking me to speak here today.

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge that the land on which we gather is the ancestral and unceded territory of Epekwitk, the Mi’kmaq name for Prince Edward Island, and Mi’kma’ki, the territory of the Mi’kmaw People of this region.

I also want to remember all the missing and murdered Indigenous and non-Indigenous women who have lost their lives due to violence.

I vividly remember December 6, 1989. I was ending my first semester of my first year of my first degree. I remember trying to find out information and processing why these women were shot…..just for being women.

I remember seeing women on campus crying and being very vocal about violence against women and the need for more education, support and resources ……. and here we are in 2017…..asking for the same things.

It has been 28 years since that day – I finished that degree at UPEI and went on to get other degrees and more education on life……moved provinces, worked in different areas but there has been one constant ‘violence against women’.

I think everyone in this room would agree that violence against women is a huge problem in our world — but we continued to be under resourced.

We live in a world where one of the most powerful men in the world can be overheard talking about sexually assaulting women and not loose his job – but we are also living in a world where the #metoo campaign has been exploding.

Social media is a powerful force but what is evident to me is that most women whom I know have experienced some sort of sexual assault or harassment in their lives. More women are speaking about their own need for resources, supports and education on a personal level.

With all that said – I have hope – a lot of hope for our world.

As I said at the beginning I work at UPEI and have the privilege everyday to work with students. Students are working very hard at making the world a better place to live and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with them. I have the best job in the world.

One of the reasons I am here today is to talk about a program which I brought to UPEI 3 years ago called the Bystander Intervention program. I believe this program can be delivered in many different areas of our community.

Three years ago myself and some of my colleagues went to St. Mary’s University to receive training to facilitate the Bringing in the Bystander Intervention Program through the University of New Hampshire.

We received the training, bought the program and started implementing the program immediately at UPEI.

Bringing in the Bystander Program fits very well with this years Purple Ribbon Campaign of

Don’t Stand By. Stand With.

Bringing in the Bystander is a 2-hour workshop where we facilitate groups of 20-25 people and teach them how to be prosocial bystanders.

Prosocial bystanders are bystanders whose behaviour intervenes in situations, which impact the outcome positively.

Participants of this program will hopefully come to understand that everyone has an important role to play in the intervention and prevention of sexual violence.

Rather than focusing strictly on the roles of perpetrator and victim, the highly interactive Bringing in the Bystander Prevention Program uses a community of responsibility approach.

It teaches participants how to safely intervene in instances where an incident may be occurring or where there may be risk.

We use videos and group discussions to help participants see that each and every one of us has the power to change not only specific situations or outcomes, but the power to challenge social norms around sexual violence.

Participants learn how to identify inappropriate behaviour along the continuum of sexual and relationship violence and how to respond to it safely.

The main objectives of this program are to help students develop critical thinking skills and the ability to talk about sexual violence education in a way that is productive and non-threatening.

Recently a facilitator of the program was out shopping downtown Ch’town and a student approached him to let him know what a positive impact the workshop has had on him and his friends. It’s pretty powerful when over a year later student was willing to have that discussion with a facilitator.

We have offered this program to more than 600 people and it has allowed us to start the conversation and education about sexual violence.

Working with students, in programs like this, and having important and challenging discussions, continues to give me hope for a better and safer world for women.

Thank you

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