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

No bucks for Ellison park expansion, ministry tells Vernon chamber

Vernon Chamber of Commerce vows to help government connect with potential funding partners to see Chelsea Estate purchased

COVID-19: Vernon fields and courts ready for booking

Local sport organizations will soon be able to get back out on the field for limited activities

$500 fine for Vernon man caught near Coldstream playground

Richard Slobodian, 58, served one night in jail and ordered to pay for breaching probation

House arrest for Vernon physiotherapist guilty of sexual assault

Stephen Witvoet to serve 18-month conditional sentencing following July 8 hearing

Kelowna woman fights off nighttime intruder

Kelowna RCMP are investigating a break-and-enter on Richter Street

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Kelowna taxpayers could pay $90K for losses caused by cancelled Memorial Cup

$135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future opportunity to host the tournament

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Motorcycle rider seriously injured in collision with vehicle on Highway 97 west of Pritchard

Chase RCMP report that motorcycle was attempting to pass when crash occurred

Predator mutilated cats in Kelowna: BC SPCA

The BC SPCA confirmed a mutilated cat was killed by a predator

LETTER: Former Summerland mayors speak out on solar project

Five former Summerland mayors sign name to short letter

Emergency crews conduct CPR on unresponsive person in Okanagan Lake

West Kelowna emergency crews are on scene at the shores of Jubilee Mobile Home Park

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Most Read