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Our commitment to end sexual violence brings together community organizations and 10 government ministries to deliver a coordinated, province-wide response to sexual violence in Alberta. It was developed through extensive consultation with frontline providers, advocates and survivors.
"Every Albertan has the right to live free from violence. Perpetrators of sexual violence violate that right.
"The Government of Alberta does not tolerate these abuses of power and control. Though anyone can experience sexual violence, we recognize it impacts women and girls most.
"We stand firmly with survivors, advocates and community agencies to stop sexual violence in all its forms.
"We commit to supporting survivors, improving our response, and shifting to a culture of consent by advancing gender equality.
"We will work until all survivors are believed and supported, and this violence is eradicated from our communities."
Our guiding principles
The following principles guide our work:
- Sexual violence is a violation of the fundamental human right to safety and bodily autonomy.
- Sexual violence is a form of gender-based violence and is rooted in systemic and structural inequality and social dynamics of power and oppression.
- Sexual violence is a public health issue that causes significant trauma and impacts the physical, mental, emotional and sexual health outcomes of people, communities and societies.
- Efforts to prevent and address sexual violence are based on the rights, needs and wishes of people who have experienced sexual violence.
- Diversity and inclusive analysis is applied to policies, programs and initiatives in order to respond to the different situations and experiences of those impacted by sexual violence, and consider their identity factors.
- Every survivor has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. They cannot be discriminated against based on:
- gender identity or expression
- race or ethnicity
- health status
- citizenship status
- any other characteristic or identity factor
How we are helping
Our commitment includes actions in 3 key areas to stop and prevent sexual violence:
- Shift the culture – by championing a culture of consent and gender equality.
- Improve the response – by ensuring that the social, health, justice and education systems respond effectively to sexual violence and harassment.
- Support survivors – by funding community agencies that help survivors and run education and prevention programs.
Shift the culture
We are shifting to a culture of consent and advancing gender equality by:
- funding awareness campaigns to promote a cultural shift towards supporting survivors, breaking the silence around sexual violence and providing education about consent, gender equality and healthy relationships:
- engaging men and boys to promote respectful relationships, positive gender roles and equality:
- creating safe public spaces for women and girls in Edmonton by partnering with the City of Edmonton and UN Women on the Edmonton: Safe City initiative:
Improve the response
Every survivor deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.
We are working to ensure government, social service agencies, health care, law enforcement, schools and post-secondary institutions respond effectively to sexual violence, including sexual assault and sexual harassment, by:
- supporting sexual assault centres and agencies with stable funding to increase access to counselling, cut wait times and provide crisis help in more communities
- supporting services through the Sexual Assault Response Team of registered nurses and other professionals – in health, policing, victim services, counselling – who have specialized education in sexual assault care to work throughout the province
- addressing sexual exploitation as part of a 9-point Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking
- providing training and resources to police through the Sexual Violence Police Advisory Committee to:
- strengthen police services’ responses and investigations
- help survivors know about their rights and available support services
- developing a trauma and sexual assault investigation online module that will be available for all law enforcement to address the topics of:
- law and consent
- trauma and memory
- myths, biases and stereotypes
- communicating with victims
- publishing a best practice guide for law enforcement investigations into sexual violence
- publishing a collection of sexual violence resource cards
- increasing access to the legal system for survivors of family and sexual violence by removing the time limit to bring forward civil claims
- improving access to sexual assault services in rural and remote communities
Sexual violence is never okay. We stand firmly with survivors by:
- supporting a province-wide central platform for sexual assault support services with Alberta One-Line
- funding women’s shelters and sexual assault centres to help ensure no woman fleeing violence is turned away
- providing funding to second-stage shelters to help women in need with longer-term accommodation
- making it easier for survivors of family violence to leave dangerous situations by allowing them to break residential leases without financial penalty through a Safer Spaces certificate
- working with LGBTQ2S+ individuals and ethno-cultural communities to develop strategies to address sexual violence
- appointing the Alberta Joint Working Group on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- the group provides advice, direction and input into the Alberta government’s proposed action plan to address the calls for justice contained in Reclaiming Power and Place: The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
- supporting the Action Coalition on Human Trafficking Alberta
- providing new occupational health and safety rules to help prevent workplace harassment and violence
- piloting the free legal advice to survivors of sexual violence
Sexual Violence Awareness Month
May is Sexual Violence Awareness Month in Alberta. It was first proclaimed on May 1, 2018 when the government launched the commitment to end sexual violence.
Community organizations plan events across the province to raise awareness, challenge attitudes and promote a culture of consent.
To find out more, see Violence, abuse and bullying prevention events.
For more information about sexual violence, see these resources:
Respect Sexual Consent (PDF, 258 KB)
Preventing violence against women and girls