The province has announced $22 million in “stable funding” for community-based sexual assault response services following a reversal of support made in 2002.
“Sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence have devastating impacts on survivors, and that’s why government is helping people get the supports they need,” Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Monday (March 7).
“Nearly 20 years to the day after the previous government chose to eliminate stable annual funding for sexual assault response services, we announced we’re restoring this critical funding so service providers can get back to focusing on providing the care survivors need.”
Starting in 2023, $10 million will be made available annually to service providers who offer victim-centred, trauma-informed, co-ordinated, cross-sector support to survivors of sexual assault.
Every week in B.C., there are an estimated 1,000 physical or sexual assaults against women, the province said. Indigenous women and girls, people of colour, 2SLGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities are disproportionately targeted.
Stable funding for sexual assault centres is just one component of a multi-year action plan to end gender-based violence being developed by the B.C. government. Focused engagement will begin on March 8 to inform the ongoing development of the action plan.
In a statement, Victoria Sexual Assault Centre executive director Elijah Zimmerman said sexual assault survivors often face the trauma of the specific attack or violence, as well as the trauma of not receiving necessary supports.
“I’m inspired by this work because a healing path of dignity and respect is possible and we can transform our communities and systems toward better practices of prevention. Working to end sexualized violence uplifts us all.”