One-time grant from civil and criminal forfeiture proceeds to stop violence, promote Indigenous healing

Mike Farnworth

WOMEN escaping violence, Indigenous families healing from intergenerational trauma, and youth needing mentorship to resist gang involvement will benefit from nearly $6.5 million in grants supporting government’s crime prevention priorities.

In all, more than 170 local programs and projects – led by community organizations, school districts, police agencies and others – will receive a one-time grant from civil and criminal forfeiture proceeds.

“Sharing proceeds of crime back with communities, to prevent crime and victimization and help victims to become survivors, is one more way we’re enhancing the services that people count on,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, at an announcement coinciding with Prevention of Violence Against Women Week in British Columbia. “Many of this year’s grant recipients are working with some of our most vulnerable citizens, helping to rebuild and heal after years and, in some cases, lifetimes of violence.”

Farnworth announced the grants today at DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society. DIVERSEcity is receiving nearly $30,000 to enhance domestic violence supports provided to women through transition houses and second-stage recovery houses in Surrey. Another grant of $75,000 will further their Women’s Crime Reduction Program, which targets the intersection of crime reduction and mental health for women from multicultural, Indigenous and non-Indigenous backgrounds, who have been in conflict with the law.

“As our name implies, our organization promotes a safer, more inclusive Surrey,” said Neelam Sahota, CEO of DIVERSEcity. “We envision a community where everyone feels they belong and can achieve their goals.

“These grants will further this important work, helping to empower women who have experienced domestic violence to seek supports they need to maximize their safety and live without violence,” added Sahota. “The grants will also facilitate change and growth for women who experience conflict with the law, to help create better outcomes for children and families.”

Community programs and services that address violence against women, including domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking and sexual exploitation, are receiving more than $1.7 million in all. In addition, more than $1.4 million will go to address Indigenous healing and rebuilding. The remaining grants will help fund community initiatives that further crime reduction and community safety, child and youth advocacy centres, restorative justice, and police training and special equipment.

“For many British Columbians, including women and children, violence is a reality in their lives – but it doesn’t have to be that way,” said Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “Our government is proud to partner with community groups and front-line workers to address violence, support survivors and bring positive change to our communities.”

This year’s grant recipients include:

* Sexual Assault Prevention Education, Lake Trail Middle school and Cumberland Community school (Nanaimo, $18,000): To educate grades 8 and 9 students about healthy sexual relationships with the ultimate goal of preventing sexual assaults.

* Peer Support, Canadian Mental Health Association (Prince George, $75,000): To help groups of up to 15 inmates with one year or less remaining on their sentence to develop coping skills, find suitable and safe housing, and develop strategies to deal with mental-health and addiction issues.

* Vernon Women’s Transition House Society (Vernon, $50,000): To support the Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre Project, ensuring it can sustain and expand its capacity.

* Cowichan Tribes, Community Safety Building on Healthy Relationships (Duncan, $30,000): To deliver a curriculum focused on anger, empathy and respect to Indigenous families and individuals dealing with intergenerational trauma, toward healing and rebuilding.

* Family Services of Greater Vancouver, Counter Exploitation Unit (Vancouver, $25,000): To fund a victim service worker who will support victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation as they navigate the justice system.

The Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) continues to undermine the profit motive behind criminal activity, by taking away tools and proceeds of crime and putting them back into programs that support community crime prevention and safety. Since 2006, the CFO has provided more than $33.5 million to help organizations throughout B.C. to further their crime prevention efforts, including $2 million in victims’ compensation. This year, more than $5 million is coming from the CFO and more than $1 million from the Criminal Asset Management Fund.

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