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Vancouver Rape Relief’s Brief to the Committee on the Status of Women

By Hilla Kerner
March 17, 2022

For the study on Intimate Partner and Domestic Violence in Canada, we submit the following:

  1. Women victims of male violence must be allowed (even encouraged) to have a support person of their choice (including workers from transition houses or other women’s services) while they provide their statement to the police. The policy on this must be clear, explicit and easily available to women victims of male violence, advocates, and the general public.
  2. Police officers (preferably female) interviewing women victims of male violence should be trained to trauma-informed policing. They must also inform women of what to expect at each stage of the process.
  3. Police must investigate domestic violence reports diligently and collect all possible evidence in a timely manner, including: statements, footage, and forensics.
  4. Police must act promptly and arrest men who breach no-contact orders.
  5. Since women’s economic position is a frequent barrier for women leaving abusive relationships, the Canadian Parliament must immediately and effectively address women’s economic insecurity and vulnerability to domestic violence. As such, we call on the Committee on the Status of Women to support Bill S-233/C-223, the National Framework for a Guaranteed Livable Basic Income Act.
  6. Male violence against women and children must be a deciding factor in court orders on access to, and custody of, children.
  7. Women (regardless of their immigration status) must receive funding for adequate legal representation in family court.
  8. Sponsored women must be provided with information (in her own language) regarding her rights in Canada and contact information for local anti-violence women’s organizations.
  9. Male violence against women in the domestic setting, and in every other situation, is a direct result of the social construction of masculinity that manifests in men’s entitlement and control over women’s bodies. Since pornography and prostitution are misogynist systems that objectifies, dehumanizes, and commodifies women, we are calling on the Committee on the Status of Women to take a strong stand against pornography and prostitution.
  10. In relation to pornography, we are calling on the Committee on the Status of Women to spearhead a national campaign to discourage men from consuming pornography with  special effort and attention given to youth and through the education system.
  11. In relation to prostitution, while the Justice Committee conducts its review of the Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, it is important that the Committee on the Status of Women affirms the importance of the current law (PCEPA) as a social rejection of the commodification and exploitation of women’s bodies.


Hilla Kerner, for the collective of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter

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