Gender Based Violence Toolkit

This toolkit focuses on Gender-Based Violence across Canada. The goal is to equip young women with the tools required to take action in the political process and meaningfully advocate to combat gender-based violence in Canada.

Thank you!

The development of this toolkit was led by Alana Robert, but is the collective effort of dozens of Daughters with the encouragement dozens more.

A sincere thank you to all of the Daughters of the Vote who contributed and supported this project with their comments, questions, suggestions, personal and professional experience, expertise, and encouragement. Thank you to Jessica Jahn, Mary Go, Sabrina Andrews Rebecca French, Melanie Lemay, Gursimran Virk, Shantel Beute, Emma Fisher-Cobb, Nyagua Chiek, Zafreen Jaffer, among many others who made this possible.

This toolkit has 3 main objectives:

  1. To engage and educate women in advocacy that serves to positively promote consent across Canada
  2. To enable women across Canada to explore different pathways to taking action to become strong voices for equality in Canada
  3. To provide strategies for engagement and tools of empowerment, to allow women to participate in the political process and ignite positive change on gender-based violence issues in Canada


This toolkit was developed through consulting Daughters of the Vote on gender-based violence from across Canada, who have come together to share their knowledge and experiences on this important issue. Our goal is to equip young women with the tools required to take action in the political process and meaningfully advocate to combat gender-based violence in Canada.

What is gender based violence?

Gender-Based Violence is violence perpetrated against someone based on their gender expression, gender identity or perceived gender. As this violence commonly affects women and girls the term is sometimes used interchangeably with violence against women and girls. GBV also has a disproportionate impact on LGBTQ2+  and gender non conforming people.


Gender based violence:

Violation of human rights and a form of discrimination based on gender, likely to result in physical, sexual, psychological, or economic harm. It is commonly used interchangeably with “violence against women”.

Overview of gender based violence:

  • The rate of violence is even higher, especially Indigenous women and LGBTQ2S, women living with disabilities, and women in northern and remote areas of Canada
  • Gender-based violence hurts families and communities and has a noticeable impact on the Canadian economy
    • Cost of intimate partner violence is $4.8 billion
    • Cost of sexual assault and other sexual offences against women is $3.6 billion
  • Gender-based violence issues had recently gained traction by the media
    • National and Internationally high profile campaigns and cases
    • #YesAllWomen & #MeToo
  • Stigma around gender-based violence remains a significant challenge for survivors; there are significant work to do for survivors pursuing justice through the legal system
  • Women who are new to Canada, racialized women, women living in poverty, women financially dependent on a partner, and women living with disabilities, are all confronted with additional unique barriers, which can impedes their ability to access timely and quality services and justice
  • Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry has found that the deaths of these women were often misfiled or ruled accidental, and were more likely to be dismissed, rather than investigated
  • Gender-based violence causes trauma, which can trigger social, physical, mental emotional, and financial implications that can last months, years, and even a lifetime.
    • These impacts are often felt more greatly by marginalized populations, including LGBTQ2S+ persons, Indigenous women and girls, sex workers, and persons with disabilities
  • Experiences of violence during an individual’s childhood may cause them to be at greater risk of re-victimization later in life
    • Violence is proven to affect multiple generations and can trigger cycles of violence within both families and communities

What is consent?



Voluntary agreement or giving permission to engage in the sexual activity

Forms of Gender Based Violence:

While the form can change, all types of gender-based violence include attacking an individual’s sense of self, their sexuality, and their physical or emotional security

There are many myths surrounding gender-based violence. It has been commonly portrayed that a person is “asking for it” because of their:

  • Clothing
  • Previous sexual activity
  • Level of intoxication
  • Previous interest
  • Relationship with the person
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • and …

These are assumptions that stem from media and the persistence of rape culture. Rape culture is continued by the perpetuation of messages and behaviors that normalize the objectification of human beings. We need to transform rape culture into consent culture. This toolkit is going to help equip you to engage in important political and policy discussions, make meaningful change in your community, and transform Canada into a safer and more inclusive country for all.


Rape Culture:

Social attitudes that normalizes or trivializes sexual assault and abuse

Sexual Harassment:

  • Any behaviour or communication to someone that has the intent of attacking their sexuality, sexual identity or sense of safety
  • Examples:
  • Unwanted comments or questions about sex life
  • Sending unwanted sexual photos
  • Telling sexual jokes that makes someone feel uncomfortable
  • Unwanted sexually suggestive looks, gestures or expressions
  • Unwanted sexual messages (for example through social media)
  • Street harassment
  • Legal implications: Humans Rights Code of violation


  • Intentional and reported invasion of a person’s physical or emotional space, that can result in fear, violation or a loss of personal privacy
  • Examples:
  • Spying
  • Following someone
  • Persistent and unwanted contact
  • Contacting someone’s friends or family without their consent
  • Showing up at someone’s workplace
  • Showing up at someone’s house
  • Unwanted gifts
  • Threatening or intimidating
  • Damaging their property
  • Legal implications: Form of criminal harassment

Sexual Assault

  • Any form of sexual contact that has occurred without the voluntary consent of the other person
  • Examples:
    • Sexual touching
    • Grabbing
    • Forced kissing
    • Oral sex
    • Anal sex
    • Vaginal intercours
  • Legal Implication: Without consent, it’s not sex – it’s sexual assault. This is a violation of Canadian criminal law

Family Violence

  • When a family member uses abusive behavior to control or harm another member of their family. When this is done towards someone they are in a relationship with, it is often called domestic violence
  • Examples:
    • Physical abuse
    • Sexual abuse
    • Emotional abuse
    • Financial abuse
    • Neglect
    • Child abuse
    • Elder abuse
  • Legal implication: There are specific laws to protect children, as well as laws on different forms of assault.

Online Violence


  • Occurs when social media or other online technologies are used to perpetuate violence or negatively impact an individual
  • Women and girls are more likely to experience this than boys and men, particularly with regards to harassment and sexualized online abuse
  • Prevalence of cyber-violence demonstrates the greater cultural problems that exist in Canada, that is tainted with sexism and misogyny



Dislike, contempt, or ingrained prejudice against women. One of many forms of sexism.

Child luring and invitations for sexual touching

  • Most common forms of cyber-violence against young women and girls
  • Girls are more likely to experience this than boys and men, particularly with regards to harassment

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