Mr. Speaker, the Cowichan Valley is recognizing the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” with its “Purple Light Night” campaign. It is a made-in-Cowichan response to the levels of violence against women and girls in our community. It invites people to hang strings of purple lights in their homes, business windows, and downtown trees to show support that gender violence has no place in our community.
Over 1,000 women access Cowichan Women Against Violence Society services each year. My community recognized it had to take concrete action to reduce violence. The City of Duncan established a designated domestic violence court in 2009, and it deals with around 300 cases each year. The North Cowichan RCMP established a domestic violence unit that same year. Recognizing that 90% of assaults are not reported to police, our local Cowichan District Hospital has a specialized response unit known as the sexual assault nurse examiner program.
We hope these actions get us closer to our goal. A community that is safe for women is a community that is safe for all.