Every year BPW Canada puts out a call for resolutions from the local chapters. These resolutions are calls to action that we send to our Federal Government. They center around resolving issues that women still face today. As National Chair to end Violence against Women I am tasked with submitting a resolution centering on that issue. Last year I wrote a resolution to asking the Government to support Senator Lillian Dyck’s bill that adding harsher sentencing requirements for the offender when the victim was an Indigenous female. I am happy to say that this bill has in fact passed and the criminal code is being amended.
This year I have submitted a resolution as National Chair and on behalf of BPW Saskatoon asking for a National Policy to ensure access to Sexual Assault Kits.
“Sexual assaults are one of the most underreported crimes in Canada. Not having adequate access to sexual assault kits is a contributing factor to why sexual assaults are underreported. The more rural a woman’s location, the less likely she will have any access to a sexual assault kit, the less likely medical staff will have proper training on collecting evidence and even less likely they will have adequate storage facilities. Better access to rape kits is one piece of the larger justice system puzzle, and front-line workers in Canada lay the blame at the feet of provincial health authorities who they say could fund better access to sexual assault kits, especially in rural areas. When women are forced to drive hours to reach a hospital where the evidence can be collected it can deter them from making the journey at all.
Therefore, Be It Resolved that BPW Canada urges the Federal Government to create a national policy that instructs Provincial Health regions to provide funding to ensure no sexual assault victim is denied access to sexual assault kits due to where they live.
Further Be It Resolved that BPW Canada urges the Federal Government to include in that national policy a requirement to allocate funding to the proper training of medical staff and access to proper storage of the sexual assault kits.” Read full Resolution >>
This resolution will be voted on at the National Convention and AGM this year and if approved will be included in the package of resolutions sent to our Government for consideration. It may not seem like much but over the years we have seen real change come from these resolutions. They are an important part of what we do at BPW Saskatoon and why we are more than just a networking group. We are making a difference in the lives of women in Canada.
President, BPW Saskatoon
National Chair – VAW, BPW Canada