TORONTO — The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) commended the provincial government for their commitment to ending violence against Indigenous women and girls in Ontario.
Since 2007 the OFIFC and it’s partners from the Aboriginal Caucus and the Joint Working Group to End Violence Against Indigenous Women have worked united on the single task to bring this issue to other’s attention but most notably to strategically provide the supports necessary to community where the abuse and violence has the greatest negative impact.
Ontario’s six-part plan, a three year strategy, will include a new family wellness program to support Indigenous families in crisis and help them deal with intergenerational trauma.
It will also include a survivor-oriented human trafficking intervention program, new police training and mental health support for survivors.
It also supports Kizhaay Anishinaabe Niin – I am a Kind Man, a culturally relevant program developed by the OFIFC that encourages and challenges Aboriginal men and boys to actively speak out against all forms of violence against women and foster healthy relationships. It is currently being used in Ontario and has been adapted in other provinces such as Alberta.
“We’re going to leave a different legacy for our children and our grandchildren,” said Sylvia Maracle, Executive Director of the OFIFC and Chair of the Joint Working Group on Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women. “There will be space to talk, to heal, to remember and to develop their indigenous identity, and for that we are grateful.”
The OFIFC is also optimistic with the province’s commitment to further close the gap for Indigenous people, where poverty and homelessness contribute to violence as root causes.
The announcement in the provincial Budget 2016 specifically on social assistance reform, housing, and curriculum education in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action support the announcement on Tuesday to end violence.
‘We look forward to continue working with the Government of Ontario to implement critical and innovative interventions addressing the root causes of involvement of indigenous children in the child welfare and youth systems,” said Maracle.