Public consultation for sexual violence strategy begins

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HALIFAX – Nova Scotians are invited to provide input to shape the province's first Sexual Violence Strategy.

The government would like to hear from all Nova Scotians who have been impacted by sexual violence or want to make a positive change. This includes victims, survivors, family members of victims and survivors, educators, employers, health-care professionals, advocates, community members and concerned citizens.  

The online feedback form is available at http://novascotia.ca/coms/svs/your-feedback/ . The form can be completed online and submitted electronically, or can be printed and returned by mail. Feedback is anonymous and can be provided until July 18.  

"While we have been meeting with service providers from across the province, we want to provide an opportunity to hear from all Nova Scotians on how to chart the course of action to address sexual violence in our province," said Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard. "This issue impacts the lives of so many Nova Scotians, and each one of us has a role to play in changing a culture that enables sexual assault and sexual violence.  

"Because we know that sexual violence is significantly under-reported to authorities, we want to hear from as many people as possible."  

Nova Scotians who want information or updates on the development of the strategy can access a new website, http://novascotia.ca/sexualviolencestrategy/ , which launched Wednesday.

"I know Nova Scotians appreciate the opportunity to have their voices be heard on this important issue," said Margaret Mauger, executive director and counselling therapist at the Colchester Sexual Assault Centre. "Sexual violence is a complex issue that affects everyone and everyone deserves a chance to contribute to the conversation as to how the strategy will evolve and move forward.

"With diverse public input the strategy will have an inclusive foundation to better meet the needs of all people affected by sexual violence."

The three-year provincial strategy, which will receive $2 million in funding per year, will focus on sexual violence prevention and improving services for victims.

Organizations: Community Services, Colchester Sexual Assault Centre

Geographic location: Nova Scotians

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