The Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity advocates for a world free from discrimination. To that end, we work through the fields of advocacy, education, research and resource creation to support 2SLGBTQ+ communities across Canada. To support this mandate, we support teachers and service providers as they work toward bridging knowledge gaps around gender and sexual diversity.
The intimate partner violence prevention program at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity aims to increase capacity of LGBTQ2S+ agencies by providing them with the tools, information on resources and services and training to support LGBTQ2S+ survivors of domestic physical assault, sexual assault and emotional abuse, and to increase and equalize their access to the criminal justice system.
We work with LGBTQ2S+ agencies, law enforcement and non-LGBTQ2S+ organizations to create best practices to address the gaps in victim services and increase access to justice for LGBTQ2S+ people. These organizations include: sexual assault centres, community resource/health centres, legal services, victims services, police units, sexual health centres, pride centres, university and college programs, and many others. We will work with any and all service providers across Canada who may come into contact with LGBTQ2S+ survivors of intimate partner violence to increase the positive quality of these interactions.
In looking at the proposed legislation, Bill C-5, we support the rationale. In particular, the following points resonate with our program:
And whereas reasons for decisions in sexual assault proceedings enhance the transparency and accountability of the judiciary;
Whereas survivors of sexual assault in Canada must have faith in the criminal justice system;
Whereas sexual assault proceedings have a profound effect on the reputations and lives of the persons affected and present a high possibility of revictimizing survivors of sexual assault;
and in particular, the importance of
Working with service providers across Canada, we are aware that ongoing education is a successful method of intervention in confronting bias for service providers. The formal process for survivors of sexual assault to receive necessary advocacy, health and legal supports is multi-faceted and involves a multitude of service providers. At every stage, there are barriers, which can relate to the intersectional identities of survivors. Ongoing discrimination based on a multitude of factors and lived experiences can further compound and weaken the relationship between survivors, service providers and the state.
Much of the same can be said for folks whose experience of sexual assault and violence also includes intimate partner violence. Members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community are, broadly speaking, more impacted by sexual assault and violence, and thus their lived realities need to be understood for competent services to be delivered.
Working with social workers, HR professionals, medical professionals and others in service provision, our aim in the IPV prevention workshops is to dispel harmful stereotypes and misconceptions that influence notions supporting survivors of sexual violence. Two crucial assessments include decoding which partner is the victim or abuser and providing services to transgender and gender non-conforming clients.
Notions of masculinity and femininity, age and appearance can often impact how service providers respond to situations of abuse as they first assess and react to the situation. Through the four years this project has been funded, we have delivered roughly 300 workshops to service providers across Canada. Starting with a greater understanding of gender and sexual diversity, we transition into situations and problem-solving, which challenge existing bias.
We have found that such training needs to be ongoing and of varied lengths depending on the particular organization, and we would encourage that the proposed seminars be lengthy. There are also provincial and regional disparities, which require training sessions to always take into account local needs, as they vary significantly.
Finally, the organizations that participate are engaged in an ongoing process of ongoing education to continue to address personal, organizational and policy-based barriers. Our training and workshops succeed because the goal is to promote a mentality focused on social justice and trauma-informed care, instead of a set curriculum.
I will now introduce our executive director, Cameron Aitken.