Community organizations working to prevent and respond to violence against women and children got a boost in December with a province-wide injection of funding.
Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall said that organizations in Creston, Nelson, Salmo and Kaslo will receive $112,280 “to help reduce waitlists and better meet demand for vital services such as counselling, outreach and crisis support.” The funding is above and beyond the 2017-18 annual core funding of $851,432.
“This funding is for services that are near and dear to my heart,” Mungall said in an interview.
“Violence against women hurts everyone and has long-term effects on families and in our communities,” she added in a press release. “For too long organizations like Nelson CARES, North Kootenay Lake Community Service Society, Kootenai Community Services Society and Salmo Community Services Society have worked tirelessly to support victims of violence without the needed resources. This funding will significantly enhance supports for women and children affected by violence in our communities.”
“The new money was added to our existing contract to provide services for victims of violence,” Laura Dodman, executive director of Kootenai Community Centre Society in Creston. “It allows us to add additional service hours to clients, which has been very helpful because we are working on increasing public education at the same time. We are grateful for the support.
The announcement is part of a province wide investment of $5 million. Victim service and violence-against-women programs throughout British Columbia will share $4 million in one-time grants to better address high demand for programs that help women and children affected by domestic abuse and sexualized violence. Another $800,000 will support inter-agency case assessment teams of police officers, victim service workers, transition house service providers and others who provide victim safety in high-risk domestic violence cases. The remaining $200,000 will be used to enhance education and prevention programs.
“Many worthy organizations have been stretched beyond capacity for years with static budgets despite their growing caseloads and operating costs, and dozens of service providers telling us they’re ready to give up their contracts next year,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “The grants we’re providing are a stepping stone toward greater certainty and stability for the thousands of women and children who rely on them in some of the most frightening, stressful and dangerous times in their lives.”
Mungall said that while the additional injection was a short-term solution, the increase in funding will become part of the 2018 budget discussions for her government.