In April of this year, Mayor Matt Brown and his staff met with Anova to discuss a 5 year initiative to make London a United Nations safe city. The initiative hopes to prevent and respond to the issue of sexual violence against women and girls and to promote safe spaces that will make females in our community feel free and equally respected.
Anova’s presentation highlights the need for change stating that 1 in 3 women have experienced sexual violence, their crisis line receives about 1000 calls a year and that they provide counselling to 750 sexual assault survivors.
Every post secondary school has a sexual violence coordinator in it, Western has a centre for research on violence against women and children, the Salvation Army has the Support to Report program, but there is always room for improvement.
Councillor Phil Squire commended Anova for their interest in working to change the stigmas surrounding men on the issue by getting them involved in the conversation. “I think it’s really important to get young men involved, older men… to talk about their experiences and what they believe because I think you will find the vast majority of men are very supportive of making sure that women are safe in our community.”
Now that they have been given the go ahead, a steering committee will conduct a scoping study that will answer questions regarding the city’s incidence rate and create a plan to provide a community that is safe for all. The steering committee is expected to come forward with their recommendations within a year, hopefully ending in a UN safe cities designation.