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March 8, 2013

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day centres on seeking a world in which women and children can live free from violence.

Just over a year ago I released a report Honouring Kaitlynne, Max and Cordon: Make Their Voices Heard Now. It is a tragic recounting of unaddressed disconnects between systems that urgently need to be working closely together in domestic violence situations – child protection, income assistance, mental health, police and judicial systems.

One of the main recommendations from that report directed the B.C. government to demonstrate a renewed and serious commitment to protect children living with domestic violence. Shortly thereafter, the Ministry of Children and Family Development announced the creation of the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence, which is clearly a step in the right direction.

I would like to take this time to recognize the people who help to keep women and children safe, such as those who work in integrated police units, transition houses and in victim services. I would also like to encourage government and British Columbians in general to ensure that reducing domestic violence remains a priority.

Sadly, domestic violence continues in our society. On this important day that recognizes that violence against women affects us all – men, women and children – I call on everybody to become part of the solution to create a world free from violence.

Together, we must work together to build a world where women and children can reach their full potential without the fear of emotional or physical harm. International Women’s Day gives us an opportunity to focus on those challenges and commit to positive change.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond
Representative for Children and Youth, British Columbia