June 16, 2023 – The Ending Violence Association of Canada (EVA Canada) welcomes the release of recommendations arising out of the recent study by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women focused on women and girls in sport.
We stand with survivors in supporting the Committee’s recommendation that Minister of Sport St-Onge immediately initiate a trauma-informed, independent national inquiry into what athletes have called culturally ingrained abuse within Canada’s sport organizations.
In our submission to the Committee, EVA Canada emphasized that sexual violence in sport is neither new nor undocumented in Canada. We are pleased to see that the Committee has centred the voice of survivors of violence in sport in their recommendations and included actions to address gender-based violence.
In particular, we welcome the recommendation that the Government of Canada work with other levels of governments to guarantee independent complaint mechanisms to ensure transparency for sexual misconduct, resources for survivors, and equal service across and within jurisdictions, and that training, education, and national awareness campaigns related to sexual assault include resources and services that are available to survivors of sexual violence. However, we are disappointed that the Committee stopped short of recommending additional funding for already over-burdened and under-resourced sexual assault centres.
We echo the Committee’s recommendation that the Government of Canada continue to invest in gender equity in sports, notably in projects that reduce gender-based violence as a barrier to women and girls participating in sports. EVA Canada recognizes that the benefits of participating in sport are numerous and well-documented. However, we also know that when athletes experience gender-based violence the negative consequences are not just significant injuries, but also the perpetuation of a sport culture in which athletes are not treated with dignity and perpetrators are not held to account. Such cultures are not safe and inclusive for sport participation, nor are they environments in which young athletes can thrive.
Addressing gender-based violence is a non-partisan issue. We urge Government to work collaboratively to demonstrate its commitment to survivors and their supporters through taking immediate action on culturally ingrained abuse and maltreatment in Canadian sport by calling a national public inquiry and implementing the report’s recommendations.
Read EVA Canada’s submission to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women here.