Violence against Women and Girls

CFUW advocates for legislation, policies and programs to prevent and address Violence Against Women and Girls. Our current campaigns include

  • 1. Non-State Actor Torture
  • 2. Sexual Assault on Campus
  • 3. Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
  • 4. Human Trafficking
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 6. 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

For an overview of CFUW’s position on these issues, see CFUW Shadow Report for Canada’s 3rd Universal Periodic Review.

1. Non-State Actor Torture

CFUW has actively pursued the addition of Non-State Actor Torture to the Canadian Criminal Code since 2011. In October 2016, we submitted a Shadow Report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, drawing attention to lack of a law that criminalizes Non-State Actor Torture, highlighting Canada’s non-compliance with international treaties and conventions, of which Canada is a signatory, which specifically recommend the criminalization of Non-State Actor Torture. Read the report here.

2. Sexual Assault on Campus

CFUW supports the right for women to learn in safe environments, free from violence and fear, with access to necessary resources. Many Canadian post-secondary institutions lack policies and response mechanisms to ensure this, and in 2016, CFUW initiated our National Research Project on Sexual Assault on Campus as part of our National Initiative on Violence against Women. The final report was published in December 2019.

3. Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Indigenous women and girls are more than twice as likely to experience violence as non-Indigenous women. CFUW urges the Government of Canada to:

  • Develop and fund a coordinated federal response to violence against Indigenous women, led by Indigenous communities and organizations.
  • Examine the systemic circumstances that result in the increased risk to violence experienced by indigenous women, including an explicit exploration of racism, sexism and colonialism.

4. Human Trafficking

Vulnerability to trafficking is deeply rooted in socio-economic inequalities, including poverty and economic insecurity, gender inequality, and the impacts of colonialism. Trafficking is part of the continuum of gender-based violence affecting women, girls, and LGBTQ2S+ people. In June 2018, CFUW submitted a Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights National Consultation on Human Trafficking in Canada.

5. Gender Equality

Statistics Canada has estimated the cost of intimate partner violence and sexual violence at $7.4 and 1.9 billion respectively, including the costs of social services, healthcare, the justice system, and lost productivity. This does not take into account the lasting impact that unacceptable trauma and violence can have on survivors and their families. In September 2017, CFUW wrote a letter to the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, asking for a fully funded comprehensive gender equality program capable of generating significant social and economic benefits. Read the letter here.

6. 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

The 16 Days of Activism (November 25th to December 10th) is an international campaign to generate actions that will put an end to violence against women and girls. From November 25th, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to December 10th, International Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence campaign can help put an end to violence against women and girls. CFUW clubs and members can be trailblazers in their communities and across the country, contributing positively to end gender-based violence (GBV).


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