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

Just Posted

Thousands of dollars of stolen rice traced to Langley warehouse

Police raid seizes $75,000 in ‘commercial scale’ theft case

VIDEO: Man collapses on Langley street

Multiple police, fire and ambulance units responded to incident outside Timms community centre

Langley thieves make off with $10,000 worth of remote control cars

Police are also investigating the theft of a pair of commemorative bridge plaques

19 times on 19th birthday: Aldergrove teen goes from crutches to conquering Abby Grind

Kaden Van Buren started at midnight on Saturday. By 3 p.m. he had completed the trek 19 times.

Cautious driving urged during South Langley toad migration

Thousands of toads are expected to hatch and head into the woods

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

UPDATE: Mission spray park closed after children suffer swollen eyes, burns

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner brings ‘objectivity’ to the job

Vancouver lawyer Reece Harding is Surrey’s first Ethics Commissioner, also a first for B.C.

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Professional basketball in Canada begins return to action with COVID-19 testing

Abbotsford’s Fraser Valley Bandits, six other CEBL teams arrive in Ontario for Summer Series

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

Most Read