I rise in the house today to remind all members that National Victims and Survivors of Crime Week takes place later this month, May 29 to June 4. This year’s theme is The Power of Our Voices.

Activities are being held all over the province and all over Canada to raise awareness, to amplify the voices of victims and survivors or crime and to give all of us an opportunity to stand with our family members, friends and neighbours who are victims and survivors of crime.

I want to tell you about two events in particular.

Schools in Grand Manan and Campobello will be hosting workshops on the prevention of sexual assault, on May 31 and June 1 respectively. Participating in these workshops will be Leah Parsons, the mother of Rehtaeh Parsons. She devotes her time to the prevention, education and awareness of sexualized violence and online abuse in memory of her daughter.

These workshops, which will be open to the public, will be excellent opportunities to learn how we can work together to create safe communities and prevent sexual assault. It is no longer enough to teach young people how to prevent themselves from becoming victimized. We need to expand the conversation and talk about respect, consent and taking responsibility to protect and support those around us. As adults, we need to lead by example. We need to stop the cycle of victim blaming and shaming. We need to use our voices and speak out.

Leah Parsons has travelled across Canada spreading the message of community responsibility in honour of her daughter Rehtaeh, whose tragic story has touched so many lives. In honour of this year’s theme, The Power of Our Voices, Parsons has encouraged community leaders to use their voices and take a pledge.

I encourage all members on all sides of the House to join me in taking this pledge:

I pledge to promote safe communities by watching out for one another, caring for each other and creating an environment that is supportive and caring when someone is hurting.

I pledge to live in a supportive community:

•    To not blame victims of sexual assault;
•    To not shame victims of sexual assault;
•    To stand up for others;
•    To stop harassment and cyber abuse.

I pledge to remember each and every day to show kindness to myself and others.