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December 6th commemoration honours victims of violence

Janice Du Mont, Marilyn Emery and Premier Kathleen Wynne stress the importance of action, awareness and healthcare providers

December  16, 2014

Click to watch the video of the commemoration here.

Healthcare providers need to better train and educate front-line staff on responding to and caring for victims of violence, urged Women’s College Hospital (WCH) researcher Janice Du Mont, EdD at the hospital’s recent commemoration for the victims of the 1989 École Polytechnique Massacre.

“What we have learned is that the health sector must play a key role in preventing violence against women,” said Du Mont, the keynote speaker at the event. “Healthcare providers can create an environment that helps women disclose that they have experienced violence and to understand that what they are reporting is abuse. Our response must include respectful compassionate care and empathetic listening.”

Each year, on the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, Women’s College Hospital (WCH) reflects and remembers those who have tragically lost their lives to gender-based violence.

At the recent commemoration, Premier Kathleen Wynne; Hon. Tracy MacCharles, Minister of Children & Youth Services and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues; Camille Orridge, CEO, TC-LHIN; Hon. Dr. Carolyn Bennett, MP, St. Paul’s in Toronto, and other dignitaries served as roseholders. During the rose ceremony, roses were presented in honour of the 14 victims from the 1989 tragedy.  A 15th rose was presented to honour the women and children who have been victims of violence in 2014.

As well, candles were lit by Premier Wynne and WCH president and CEO Marilyn Emery for all these women and children.

“We must do everything we can to continue the dialogue and to address the societal attitudes and behaviours that normalize violence against women,” said Emery, in her remarks, at the event. “Be it domestic violence, sexual assault or physical abuse, we need to keep raising awareness, not only to honour the victims and survivors but to create a wide-reaching movement that will help us end these horrific crimes.”

Days prior to the commemoration, the provincial government announced the launch of a public education campaign and a package of initiatives to respond to violence against women. Premier Wynne committed to improving government caucus policies and procedures, creating a standing Roundtable on Violence Against Women and improved support for victims of sexual violence.

At Women’s College Hospital, the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre provides emergency care, support and counselling for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Today, the team is mobile, going directly to victims of violence to provide care in hospitals across the GTA.

“By providing these informed and comprehensive health services for victims of violence and by continuing to challenge discriminatory behaviours and social norms, we can work towards eliminating violence against women,” said Du Mont.

To read the media release on this event, see here.

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