New 'hub' to help understand gender-based violence unveiled
Published Monday, December 10, 2018 4:28PM EST
The new Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre, which will collect and analyze data, was announced at Western University on Monday.
Part of a national strategy by the federal government, it will be housed within Status of Women Canada and features a user-friendly online interface.
Minister of Status of Women Canada, Maryam Monsef, believes the new federal initiative will help communities and support agencies access better solutions.
“What if we were able to bring all that knowledge in one place and fill the gaps? We would - most definitely - take advantage of momentum that ‘Me-Too’ and ‘Time's-Up’ and ‘Been-Raped-Never-Reported’ and ‘Unfounded’ have created. And we'll be able to prevent gender-based violence. And we'll be able to provide healing for those who need it most."
Monsef says it is a critical next step to addressing the issue.
Western's Centre for Research and Education on Violence Against Women and Children is seen as a national leader in gender-based research.
Director Peter Jaffe says everyone from front-line service providers to policy makers will benefit from the centre.
"Often there's a really innovative program in terms of treating abusers, or providing better support for victims, or children who are living with violence. We need to share that information much better than we have in the past."
Monsef says there’s an economic price to not acting to end violence, with intimate partner violence costing Canada about $12 billion a year.
“How is she supposed to go out there and ace that job interview if she has a black eye, as one of the experts in this process has reminded us."
Barb MacQuarrie is a researcher and community director of Western’s centre. She says it's a cost businesses are just now beginning to understand.
"I think that it's the next frontier in terms of where we provide resources, where we provide support. And I don't want employers to feel like, 'Oh, you're just asking us to do this and you're us to invest our own resources.' No. We're going to show you how much money you can actually save, how much more productive you can be, at the same time as you’re being good corporate citizens."
Nadine Wathen is a Health Information Sciences professor at Western University. She says, in an era where misinformation is spread as readily as verified research, the G.B.V. Knowledge Centre will be vital.
“Part of, I think, what we're seeing more globally is a backlash against some of these messages. We've certainly seen a backlash against ‘Me-Too,’ and a backlash against gains made by women in society. So, I think this data will serve as a bulwark against that backlash."
Along with the Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre, Monsef also announced $5 million in federal funding for gender-based violence and gender equity research projects.