The City of Toronto and Family Service Toronto (FST) launched a public campaign today to raise awareness about intimate partner violence and to encourage Torontonians to take action if they think someone they know is experiencing abuse. The campaign will run until December 2.
The campaign period coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25 and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign, November 25 to December 10.
According to Statistics Canada, one in three women in Canada has experienced abuse at some point in her life and every six days, a woman is killed by her partner.
The campaign was created in consultation with FST’s Community Advisory Council, which is comprised of members of various community agencies that support people who have experienced abuse. The campaign encourages Torontonians to understand that they can take small actions that may help people who are being abused.
“We all have a part to play to ensure that Toronto remains a vibrant and safe city for everyone,” said Mayor John Tory. “While it can be hard to know what to do to help someone we think might be experiencing abuse, survivors tell us that sometimes simple actions can make a big difference.”
“Intimate partner violence is a significant and preventable public health concern that affects an estimated 30 per cent of the global population,” said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. “This form of violence can have serious and long-lasting physical and mental health effects, especially for those who lack sufficient social supports. The City is launching this campaign to recognize this type of violence, identify that many people are silent bystanders, and encourage us all to take action with compassion and understanding.”
“Family Service Toronto provides services across the city to support people affected by abuse – women, children and men,” said Margaret Hancock, Executive Director of FST, the campaign’s lead social service agency. “FST’s work with tens of thousands of people takes many forms, everything from individual, couple and family counselling to group work, peer support and educational sessions. We know from experience that the actions of bystanders can make all the difference to someone experiencing abuse.”
The campaign features three posters that challenge some of the ideas people have that dissuade them from getting involved when they think someone is being abused. The posters encourage the viewer to refuse to be a silent bystander by taking simple actions. The campaign uses transit ads and social media to engage viewers.
Information and resources to educate Torontonians about the prevention of intimate partner violence and how bystanders can support those who are victims of it is available on the campaign website at torontoforall.ca.
This is the sixth phase of the City’s Toronto for All campaign which has an overall goal of creating a Toronto that says no to all forms of discrimination and racism.
• Phase 1: focused on Islamophobia (summer 2016)
• Phase 2: addressed anti-Black racism (fall 2016)
• Phase 3: addressed discrimination against homeless men (spring 2017)
• Phase 4: focused on transphobia (summer 2017)
• Phase 5: encouraged people to acknowledge and explore Toronto’s Indigenous beginnings (summer 2018)
All phases have successfully encouraged conversations among Toronto residents, generated media coverage and raised awareness to support the campaign’s goal to build an inclusive city.