April 28, 2020

Urgent federal government action needed for life and death situation: NDP MP Gazan

TREATY NO. 1 TERRITORY, WINNIPEG– Over the last several months, NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre, Leah Gazan, has been urging the federal government to fund the creation of a 24/7 safe space for women, girls, transgender, and two-spirit people in Winnipeg.

"We need this space funded now," said Gazan. "Minister Monsef is aware that the reported cases of domestic violence have risen across the country, yet her government refuses to allocate the necessary funding for a 24/7 safe space for women and girls in Winnipeg. This is wrong. We are facing life and death situations. We must do better to help those who need it immediately."

Winnipeg is one of the only urban centres in Canada that does not have a 24/7 safe space for women and girls. Winnipeg's domestic violence rate is twice the national average and according to the most recent Winnipeg Police Service Annual Report, domestic violence was the most common reason for calls to police.

"The government knows these spaces are critical, yet they continue to fail to respond to the needs of girls, women and 2SLGBTQ+. This is unacceptable and the government must reverse its decision and ensure a 24/7 safe space is funded in Winnipeg," said Gazan.

The Women's National Housing & Homelessness Network has also recently placed calls for the government to support barrier-free 24/7 spaces. After several years of reports, including the Calls to Justice from The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Winnipeg - where the call for the report began - is still without a barrier-free 24/7 safe space for women, girls, transgender, and two-spirit people.

– 30 –

Quotes: "It is critical that the government implement the two hundred and thirty-one calls to justice, especially 4.7 in light of the increasing domestic violence during COVID-19, which calls on the government to establish and provide long term sustainable funding for low barrier shelter spaces for women and other individuals that do not fit into traditional shelters." - Sandra Delaronde, family member and long-time community advocate for MMIWG2S.

"Women and 2SLGBTQ+ members often face additional challenges in their new home. A 24/7 safe space would help individuals to escape dangerous situations. Our community needs this safe space." - Jennifer Chen, School trustee and community advocate for newcomer and refugee populations.​