FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued by Justice Minister and Attorney General Marie-Claude Blais, who is also the minister responsible for women's issues, in recognition of April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in New Brunswick:

On behalf of the Government of New Brunswick and in collaboration with the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, I am pleased to formally declare April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  

This year marks the third annual province-wide Sexual Assault Awareness Month led by the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre with support from violence prevention networks across the province. This important event is made possible through funding under the Provincial Strategy on Sexual Assault Services.

The primary goal of the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre is to end sexual violence against women and children through public education and to provide direct services to those affected by sexual violence. The centre has offered a 24-hour phone service since 1976, originating with a grant and the support of volunteers.

Sexual assault and sexual violence continue to have a profound and lasting impact on the lives of women in every community in this province. The contribution that this organization has made to bring awareness to this societal issue are invaluable and deserving of acknowledgement.

Eliminating sexual assault is not a task for one government, one community, one organization or one individual. Together, we must continue to talk about the issue of sexual assault and demonstrate our intolerance of sexual violence. These open conversations will send a message to survivors, letting them know that they are not alone and that help and support services are available.  

This year's theme, Engaging Youth, is appropriate as the Women's Issues Branch is currently working with the Atlantic ministers responsible for the status of women on the CyberSafe Girl Initiative. This initiative promotes education and awareness related to social media, while encouraging girls and parents to discuss how to use it safely.
More than ever, our young people are using social media for entertainment and to connect with friends but they may not be aware of the risks associated with their online activity. It is important for all of us, especially our young people, to think and talk about the presence of sexual violence in our homes, schools, social settings, and more than ever, online.

The Women's Issues Branch continues to fund many programs that provide much-needed services to women in this province such as the Domestic Violence Outreach Services; the Concurrent Group Program for Children exposed to violence and their mothers; Second Stage Housing programs; the Provincial Sexual Assault Strategy and related services; and the Strategic Framework to End Violence against Wabanaki Women in New Brunswick.

Women play a vital role in our plan to rebuild New Brunswick as a prosperous province, and the government is committed to ensuring their safety. It is our neighbours, the people in our communities, you and I, who can support women and all of those impacted by sexual assault.

This April, I invite all New Brunswickers to join the conversation, to start talking about how we can prevent all sexual violence.


●    Women's Issues Branch
●    Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre
●    CyberSafe Girl Initiative