May 19th, 2021

Mantha introduces bill to raise awareness and prevent abuse of children and youth

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Michael Mantha (Algoma-Manitoulin) introduced a bill on Wednesday that aims at preventing and reducing child abuse by raising awareness in schools.

Mantha’s bill, Abuse Prevention Week Act, would proclaim the week beginning on the first Sunday in October of each year as Abuse Prevention Week. During that week, all Ontario schools would be teaching an evidence-based curriculum focussed on abuse prevention. The government of Ontario does not currently provide education and prevention tools to help elementary school or secondary school aged children to deal with physical, emotional or sexual abuse. This NDP bill aims to correct that.

The bill was inspired by Charmaine Loverin, founder of the Centre for Mental Health Transformation. Her organization focusses on supporting child abuse recovery, prevention education and advocacy. For years, Ms. Loverin has been leading her “Loverin’s Law” initiative, through public petitions that have paved the way for this bill. Her petitions have been introduced and supported by members of all parties in the current and previous legislature.

“Charmaine Loverin’s work is truly inspiring. Her determination and hard work has made this initiative possible,” said Mantha. “I hope the government will join us in support of this bill, so we can create a province-wide framework focussed on abuse prevention. Issues of abuse transcend culture, socio-economic status and religion and they may result in long-term injury. Creating a comprehensive framework based on the recommendations of abuse prevention experts and education stakeholders will be key to help children and young people live a safer and healthier life.”

“So many Ontarians, child protection service workers, agencies and educators who have signed our Loverin’s Law petition. I am very proud of the work we have done. Implementing an intervention framework like an awareness week for abuse prevention in all Ontario schools will reshape the future and safety for all young people and youth. It will also empower prevention skills and tools for all families and communities” Loverin said. “Loverin's Law vision is aiming at reducing child abuse, early offenders, youth mental health problems, addiction issues, child trafficking and even suicide.”

Abuse often affects children under the age of five, and 93 per cent of abuse is perpetrated against children or young people by individuals they trust. Statistically, two in five girls and one in six boys have suffered abuse in Canada. Additional cases of abuse may go unreported.