Budget 2022 reverses cuts made in 2002, supporting sexual assault survivors with $22 million to provide stable funding for community-based sexual assault response services.
Starting in 2023-24, the province will provide more than $10 million in annual funding to service providers who provide coordinated, victim-centered and trauma-informed cross-sector support to victims of sexual assault.
“Sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence have devastating effects on survivors, and that’s why the government is helping people get the support they need,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Security Public and Solicitor General. “Nearly 20 years to the day after the previous government decided to eliminate stable annual funding for sexual assault response services, we announced that we are restoring this essential funding so that service providers can refocus on providing the care victims need.
Every week in British Columbia, an estimated 1,000 women are physically or sexually assaulted. Indigenous women and girls, people of color, 2SLGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities are disproportionately targeted.
The decision to cut stable funding for these essential services has forced community service providers to spend their time reapplying for funding and fundraising to fill the shortfall, making it harder to deliver services to survivors. The funding announced today will enable the consistent delivery of sexual assault services for victims and support the delivery of coordinated, community-based sexual assault crisis response services in regions across the province. Over the next few months, the Department of Public Safety and Solicitor General will work to establish a process for allocating the new funds.
“Our province should be a safe place, but more than half of women in British Columbia have experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 16,” said Grace Lore, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. sexes. Know how difficult it is to provide trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and culturally appropriate sexual assault response services when you don’t know where your next round of funding will come from. means we need to recognize the value of experienced and compassionate community service providers who deserve stable annual funding to do their job.
Stable funding for sexual assault centers is just one part of a multi-year action plan to end gender-based violence being developed by the Office of Justice. Department of Finance and the Department of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Targeted engagement will begin on March 8, 2022 to inform the continued development of the action plan.
Ninu Kang, Executive Director, Ending Violence Association of BC –
“We applaud this government’s continued commitment to providing support to survivors of sexual violence across British Columbia. We also applaud those who work to provide essential services in communities large and small, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. It is this collective effort, everyone working together, with stable funding, that will make the most difference in the lives of survivors.
Elijah Zimmerman, Executive Director, Victoria Sexual Assault Center –
“Survivors often carry not only the trauma of a specific act of sexual violence, but also the trauma of not receiving support, or support that further humiliates or isolates them. I am inspired by this work because a journey of healing with dignity and respect is possible and we can transform our communities and systems towards better prevention practices. Working to end sexual violence uplifts us all.
- Girls and young women under the age of 25 have the highest rates of police-reported sexual assaults in Canada, accounting for more than half of victims.
- The rate of self-reported sexual assault among Aboriginal women is nearly three times that of non-Aboriginal women.
- People with disabilities, especially women with mental disabilities, are also at a higher risk of being sexually assaulted.
- The number of police-reported sexual assaults is known to be a vast under-representation of sexual assaults in British Columbia, with most survivors never involving the police.
- Sexual abuse can be a form of spousal abuse. The Cridge Center for the Family cites that up to 90% of women who have been in an abusive relationship have suffered at least one brain injury from their partner.
- In addition to this funding, the BC government provides more than $42 million annually to support more than 400 victim services and violence against women programs.
- This new funding is in addition to the $20 million provincial funding provided over the past two years for the Sexual Assault Emergency Services Grant Program.
To find out what to do if you or someone you know needs help, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/criminal-justice/victims-of-crime/victimlinkbc
For more information on funding announced in 2021 to support community-based sexual assault response services, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021PSSG0045-001030
For more information on funding announced in 2020 to support community-based sexual assault response service programs, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020PSSG0033-000947
For detailed profiles on some of the organizations that have received funding and their work, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/gender-equity/ending-gender-based-violence
For statistics on violence against women in British Columbia, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/public-safety/domestic-violence
To learn more about the Ending Violence Association of BC, visit: https://endingviolence.org/