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Committee on violence against women to meet: minister

NDP says task force assignment required to address the problem

The details are still being finalized, but Justice Minister Andrew Parsons said he hopes to lead a productive meeting soon on the issue of violence against women in the province.

He’s not ready to assign a task force, but the meeting will be a start.

“We know we’re not going to fix this issue in one day. It’s been around for centuries. It’s not going to happen right away. My thought has been there are some wins, some victories we can get,” he told reporters, after the issue was raised Thursday in the House of Assembly by NDP MHA Gerry Rogers.

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She asked for a task force, arms-length from government, with a mandate for immediate action to investigate what needs to be done to reduce the levels of violence.

“Three women in our province were murdered in six months and the #MeToo campaign shows sexual assault is still rampant,” Rogers said. “For decades and decades women’s organizations have organized, written briefs, collaborated with government and police, given training and awareness sessions. They’ve given input into a violence prevention action plan, but the violence continues.”

The three murdered women are Cortney Lake, 24, of Mount Pearl, Ryanna Grywacheski, 18, of Marystown, and Victoria Head, 36, who was found dead in the area of O’Brien Farm on Oxen Pond Road in St. John’s on Nov. 11.

MHA Siobhan Coady, responsible for the Women’s Policy Office, responded to Rogers before Parsons, acknowledging the recent deaths and the continued violence.

Coady said the Liberals take the issue seriously, noting the government’s violence prevention plan, increased funding in recent years for women’s organizations and support for domestic violence court.

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