TORONTO - Front-line workers in the fight against domestic violence will get more training and victims enhanced counselling under an Ontario government strategy announced Monday.
"Women and children have the right to live free of fear and violence, especially in their homes," Premier Dalton McGuinty said in a statement.
"The action plan places a new emphasis on preventing abuse before it happens and supporting victims when it does happen."
The four-year plan includes $56 million to provide better community support for victims, including improved counselling and housing.
Another $5.9 million is earmarked to train front-line workers and others to better recognize early signs of abuse and to help victims get information and support.
The strategy also includes $4.9 million for a public education and prevention campaign.
The plan includes a promise to improve the criminal and family justice system to better protect women and children and to hold abusers accountable for their behaviour.
The Domestic Violence Action Plan, developed following consultations with more than 180 experts and front-line workers from across Ontario, will target programs and services to meet the needs of women in at-risk communities.
"We all share a responsibility for the protection and safety of women in abusive situations," said Sandra Pupatello, the minister responsible for women's issues.
"Our plan... will improve public awareness, change attitudes and help break the cycle of violence."