IN advance of Prevention of Violence Against Women Week (April 12-18), British Columbia is putting the Vision for a Violence Free BC strategy into action, investing $5 million for projects focused on ending violence against women and preventing crime.
More than 220 grants, funded through B.C.’s civil forfeiture program, have been provided to groups throughout the province for initiatives that address violence against women, support youth and community crime prevention, support victims through restorative justice programs, and include police education, training and specialized crime prevention equipment.
Among the British Columbians these projects will reach are women who have experienced violence, Aboriginal youth in isolated communities, educators, students, service providers, and restorative justice practitioners.
Nearly 70% of the overall funding, for a total of $3.4 million, is being provided to organizations to begin work this year on the Violence Free BC strategy. Examples include:
* Vancouver School Board, RSVP Healthy Relationships Transition Project:
An $84,500 grant will help transition the RSVP project into 20 schools and support healthy relationship workshops in Vancouver classrooms to support students as they face challenges in the schoolyard, classroom, and amongst family and friends.
* MOSAIC, Advancing the Safety and Well-being of Immigrant Women in North West BC:
A $40,000 grant will support a project to provide training to frontline service providers to implement culturally appropriate prevention strategies and address the unique challenges for immigrant women who are victims of violence.
* Comox Valley Transition Society, Healing Through Connections:
A $20,000 grant will support a pilot project to facilitate the creation of culturally appropriate circles of support for Aboriginal women who have experienced violence in relationships and are seeking to heal and rebuild their lives and the lives of their children and families.
In addition, more than $1.5 million in civil forfeiture funding will better serve victims through restorative justice programs, support efforts to prevent youth involvement in crime, enhance police training and education, and address local crime prevention issues, including:
* Haida Gwaii Restorative Justice Program, Access to Restorative Justice Programs:
A $20,000 grant will be used to hold public and school forums on how restorative justice can help victims of crime in Queen Charlotte City, Prince Rupert, Kitimat and Terrace.
* Abbotsford Community Services, Building Healthy Relationships:
A $20,000 grant will help pre-teen South Asian girls and boys in grades 5 and 6 who have experienced youth violence in their neighbourhoods within the previous school year.
Since B.C.’s civil forfeiture program became active, it has returned approximately $21 million from successful forfeiture actions to crime prevention and victim compensation in B.C. Moving forward, government has made a commitment to dedicate a portion of civil forfeiture funds to support the Vision for a Violence Free BC strategy in future years.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton said: “This year’s civil forfeiture funding is allowing us to support leaders in the community to implement innovative projects that will reach British Columbians in all regions – strengthening and supporting our long-term goal of achieving a violence-free B.C.
“We know these funds make a real difference for real people, and that they’re effective in putting a dent in crime in B.C. We must – and we will – continue offering these kinds of grants in the coming years to support the community organizations that deliver these critical services as we work towards protecting women in our province from all forms of violence.”
Vancouver School Board Chair Christopher Richardson said: “The civil forfeiture grant funds we’re receiving today will help us bring anti-violence programming to students in schools across Vancouver. We know that young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are the most likely to experience the highest rates of violence, so it’s incredibly important that we find ways to address the issue of violence against women and create more awareness among young people in our communities.”