Robert Barron Citizen
Three aboriginal organizations in Duncan will share $120,000 in provincial funding for programs dealing with domestic violence.
The Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation is providing $310,000 to seven aboriginal organizations on Vancouver Island for culture-based domestic violence programs.
Jane Sterk, executive director of the Cowichan Women Against Violence Society, said with the high number of domestic violence incidents in the region, which has a large aboriginal population, the announcement is “good news.”
“In fact, this area has the highest level of domestic violence in the province and only Abbotsford ties us on this issue,” Sterk said.
“The aboriginal population here is about 11 per cent of the total, and they face the traditional problems of poverty, poor housing and a lack of job opportunities that can sometimes lead to domestic violence problems.”
In fact, aboriginal women are almost three times more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence than non-aboriginal women, according to government statistics.
The Hiilye’yu Lelum Friendship Centre will receive $70,000 for its Parenting After Violence program, a parenting course for dads that have perpetrated violence in the past, and for a drop-in group for dads that offers emotional support and community building.
The Tsewulhtun Health Centre will receive $25,000 for its Turning Stones project that focuses on a holistic approach to support healing for the entire family.
Cowichan Tribes will receive $25,000 for its Healthy Relationships program that brings awareness and understanding of domestic violence to people experiencing abuse.
Cpl. Krista Hobday, a spokeswoman for the North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP, acknowledged that domestic violence is a “significant issue” in the Duncan area. She said the detachment has established a domestic violence unit that deals with cases in the area.
“We see any funding from the government to help the community deal with this issue as a good investment,” Hobday said.
Don McRae, the MLA for Comox Valley, said that ensuring aboriginal families have proper access to anti-domestic violence services is an urgent priority.
“This funding helps address that priority by supporting the outstanding aboriginal communities and organizations on the Island that are working hard to end domestic violence,” he said.