Purple ribbon flag honours victims and survivors of intimate partner violence

Flags raised at York Regional Police locations, including East Gwillimbury and Whitchurch-Stouffville

A large crowd gathered at York Regional Police (YRP) Headquarters in Aurora to watch the launch of the first-ever raising of the Purple Ribbon flag. The Nov. 1 event, meant to increase awareness of intimate partner violence, was organized by the York Regional Police Intimate Partner Violence Unit, in collaboration with the York Region Centre for Community Safety (YRCCS) and other community partners.

“Our goal is to create public awareness, encourage survivors to speak out and to help generate conversations about changing the social attitudes about intimate partner violence,” said YRP Chief Jim MacSween. “We are raising the Purple Ribbon flag today as a tribute to all victims and survivors of intimate partner violence.”

An intimate partner relationship includes those between opposite-sex or same-sex partners, including, but not limited to current and former dating relationships, online relationships, current and former common-law or married couples or instances where one person feels they are in a relationship, regardless of whether or not there has been sexual activity.

The white portion of the flag signifies anti-violence against women, while the purple portion’s ribbon signifies intimate partner violence awareness.

The flag commemorates November as Intimate Partner Violence Awareness Month; the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Nov. 25; draws attention to the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, Nov. 25 to Dec. 10, where the Purple Ribbon decal will be displayed on all YRP front line vehicles and a Purple Ribbon pin worn by all front line officers; and marks Dec. 6 as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women following the Montreal Massacre that saw 14 women murdered at Ecole Polytechnique in 1989.

Flags will also be raised at other York Regional Police locations, including five district stations, the training and education building, the Community Safety Village, the marine unit and the two YRP substations in East Gwillimbury and Whitchurch-Stouffville.

“Today’s raising of the purple flag is a symbolic and momentous gesture,” said Jaspreet Gill, executive director, YRCSS. “It symbolizes our continued commitment to support survivors of extreme partner violence, not just as individual agencies, but as a cohesive collective.”

Intimate partner violence increased slightly from the previous year at 2.6 per cent. According to the 2021 YRP Annual Statistics Report, there were 6,131 total intimate partner violence occurrences in 2020 compared with 6,289 in 2021.

Melissa Wallace is a reporter for YorkRegion.com and the York Region Media Group.


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