Youth workers across the city voice a common concern that funding problems and lack of jobs are keeping young people from picking up guns. It was a spate of 2005 shootings involving young people that prompted council to assign “priority” status to 13 needy neighbourhoods. In the aftermath of shooting at the Eaton Centre, council must decide whether to preserve the jobs of 17 of the 29 city youth outreach workers who help needy young people.
In March 2011, Victim Services Toronto received $168,000 in Government of Canada funding for a project to develop and adapt approaches to engage youth in violence prevention through youth-led workshops with a particular focus on a gender-based analysis framework. This project takes place in schools, with workshops tailored for youth with disabilities, newcomers and cultural groups on the issue of violence against women. The project will be completed in the Spring of 2013.
“We have the Government of Canada’s support in helping youth identify their concerns and find the best strategies to respond to violence in their communities,” said Ms. Bonnie Levine, executive director of Victims Services Toronto. “This project is helping to raise awareness of issues surrounding violence against women and girls.”
Through a group of youth leaders, workshops have been held in diverse neighbourhoods. The workshops empower youth to end the cycle of violence by providing them with tools to make informed and healthy choices. This includes Volunteer Youth Leadership Training sessions where participants learn various forms of leadership and communication skills to assist other youth in responding to issues of violence they are facing. An additional workshop is planned with participants from the Aboriginal community.
Support for Women
“It is only by working together, enhancing our knowledge and understanding of this issue, that we will end all forms of violence against women and girls,” said Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and government services and minister for status of women. “By targeting youth between the ages of 12 and 18, we are empowering them to work together, raise awareness and contribute to preventing acts of violence in their communities.” Ambrose of late shared the successful results of government ofCanadasupport for a project that addresses violence against women and girls inToronto.
The Government of Canada is supporting projects that yield concrete results for women and girls in Canada while strengthening families, communities and the country. Through Status of Women Canada, the government’s support for community-based projects has nearly doubled since 2006-2007, from $10.8 million to close to $19 million, its highest level ever.