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

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

Duncan’s City Hall will get a seismic assessment this year. (File photo)
Duncan City Hall to get seismic assessment

City hopes grants will help pay for seismic upgrades

Vandals damaged a picnic table at Spectacle Lake Park with a chainsaw earlier this month. (Linda Mills photo)
Editorial: Vandals make victims of us all

It is infuriating when people target public property for vandalism.

Vees' Jack Barnes picked up his second goal of the season in the team's 5-0 win over Merritt on Saturday. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Cowichan Capitals in deadline dilemma with 20-year-old players

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

The latest homeless count in the Valley found 129 in a 24-hour period. (File photo)
Latest homeless count reveals 129 in the Cowichan Valley

But local officials believe number is higher

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deals, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Vancouver Coastal Health region

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
Island-raised musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah closes out the movie

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing escalates to stabbing in Nanaimo

Victim, struck with coffee cup and then stabbed, suffers minor injuries; suspect arrested

A battery electric-hybrid ferry, pictured here, is expected to make its way to Vancouver Island in late 2021, says B.C. Ferries. (Submitted photo)
Hybrid ferry for Gabriola-Nanaimo route launches in shipyard in Europe

Two hybrid vessels to replace MV Quinsam by early 2022, says B.C. Ferries

The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

A BC Ferries worker out of Swartz Bay has tested positive for COVID-19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Swartz Bay ferry worker confirmed to have COVID-19

Employees in direct contact with worker now isolating

Most Read