Gravelle Pleased Support Expanding in Northern Ontario For Survivors Of Sexual Violence

McGuinty Government Breaking Down Language Barriers, Increasing Access To Services

“Women who have experienced sexual violence can now come forward in Thunder Bay, Kenora, and other cities in the North and get the help they need, without a language barrier. This is another step our government is taking with our community partners to stop violence against women.” Michael Gravelle, MPP Thunder Bay-Superior North

Ontario is helping more women who are victims of sexual violence in Thunder Bay, Kenora and the Northwest region get access to social, healthcare and legal services in their own languages.

Thunder Bay Multicultural Association (TBMA) is receiving provincial support through Ontario’s Language Interpreter Services (LIS) program to expand interpreter services so survivors of sexual violence can now get assistance. The agency estimates that they will be able to serve 200 more survivors because of this vital expansion.

“Language services offer another level of comfort and safety for victims of sexual violence. We are breaking down one of the barriers to service for them. Over the past year, we have provided more than 800 hours of interpretation to 145 victims of violence. This expansion allows us to serve a larger group and to outreach to victims about where they can find help and access services in their first language.” says Cathy Woodbeck, Executive Director, Thunder Bay Multicultural Association.

The expansion includes access to both sexual violence and domestic violence sign language interpreter services for women who are Deaf, oral deaf, deafened and hard of hearing. The government previously funded these services only for victims of domestic violence.

Breaking down language barriers to provide women better access to the help they need is part of the McGuinty government’s Sexual Violence Action Plan, launched in March 2011.

“Sexual violence crosses all social boundaries, affects women of every age and cultural background, and has devastating impacts on the lives of victims and their families. We are ensuring that every woman has access to the supports that she needs to move forward with her life.” Laurel Broten, Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues


  • May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month.
  • Ontario’s Language Interpreter Services program is available in more than 70 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in person, by telephone or through teleconferencing.
  • An estimated 7,000 victims will now get help each year under the expanded LIS program.


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