B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, May 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

The Ending Violence Association of B.C. has received a $10 million fund to support services for victims of sexual assault, providing grants for three years to stabilize and expand services expected to see increased demand due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced the new fund May 26, with eligibility to be worked out before applications can be taken. Stay-at-home restrictions like the coronavirus pandemic leave fewer opportunities to escape, and “gender-based violence including sexual assault is known to increase during these times,” Farnworth said.

The three-year fund is to stabilize existing sexual violence programs and expand them to more communities, with more culturally appropriate responses for Indigenous and other ethnic communities, Farnworth said.

Tracy Porteous, executive director of Ending Violence Association of B.C., said services have done fundraising and applied for gaming grants to support their efforts. The grants will help provide victims of violence with someone to go with them to hospital if required, and report crimes to police. Porteous cited a Statistics Canada estimate that only five per cent of sexual violence incidents are reported to police.

RELATED: Victoria Sexual Assault Centre remains open 24/7

As pandemic restrictions are eased, Porteous said she is concerned about a “tsunami of demand” as has been seen in China after a lengthy lockdown of public movement.

The B.C. government currently has a $40 million annual budget for victim service and violence against women programs across the province. Amendments to the Employment Standards Act have been introduced to provide up to five days of paid leave for people facing domestic or sexual violence, up from 10 days of unpaid leave passed by the B.C. legislature in 2019.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Trail RCMP officer accused of criminal harassment, forcible entry

BCPS: The charges against Murchie date between 2017 and 2020

Petition calls on referendum for new city hall development in Rossland

The petition sent to the B.C. government has gathered more than 350 signatures

Trail RCMP safely apprehend man experiencing mental health crisis

A number of frontline agencies were involved in bringing this incident to a peaceful resolve

Trail RCMP, coroner, investigating fisherman’s sudden death

The Maple Ridge man, in his 50s, died while fishing on a bridge near Trail

Speak up for B.C.’s Old Growth

Letter to the Editor from Wildsight

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

B.C. tent camps persist as hotels, housing bought for homeless

Current estimate 40 camps, homeless counts stalled by COVID-19

VIDEO: Trio of orphaned Alberta grizzly bear cubs find new home at Vancouver zoo

The Alberta cubs’ mother was killed by hunters and would have otherwise been euthanized, zoo says

Most Read