Government's extensive consultation with anti-violence groups has culminated in the release of the Provincial Domestic Violence Plan.
The new three-year, $5.5-million Provincial Domestic Violence Plan - co-ordinated through the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence (PODV) - delivers on government's commitment to make B.C. a safer place for women, children and anyone who has been affected by domestic violence.
The plan is the result of public and anti-violence stakeholder consultations and includes the creation of additional specialized domestic violence units, programs for Aboriginal families, direct services for perpetrators, and improved access to services and social housing for survivors in rural and remote communities.
The plan also includes an Aboriginal response and specific approaches to address the unique needs of immigrant and refugee women and women with disabilities. Government will invest in direct services to address focus areas that were identified during the consultation process as key priorities.
Highlights of the plan:
- $1 million to help with the startup and implementation of additional specialized domestic violence units, which will provide direct services to high-risk families.
- $2 million to develop and deliver programs specifically for Aboriginal women, men and children affected by domestic violence - including victims and perpetrators.
- $1 million to provide support and intervention for perpetrators to hold them accountable and support changes in behaviour and attitude.
- $1.5 million in direct supports to women and children for housing and transportation in rural and remote communities.
The first year of the plan will lay the groundwork for new and enhanced direct service delivery through work to:
- Enhance prevention and public awareness through an improved web presence and leverage existing provincial campaigns, such as Erase Bullying, Together to Reduce Elder Abuse and Be More Than a Bystander.
- Strengthen the justice system's response to cases of domestic violence by exploring the development of a framework for domestic violence courts, and continued improvement in communications between police and Crown counsel for the purpose of charge assessment and case management.
- Improve co-ordination, information sharing and referrals between government and community organizations and agencies in cases of domestic violence.
- Develop further resources and training for the settlement sector on how to recognize and respond to domestic violence - specifically working more effectively with B.C.'s immigrant and refugee communities.
- Research and identify delivery models for First Nations on-reserve programs and programs for perpetrators, in consultation with partners.
The plan builds on the work of the anti-violence sector and the considerable steps government has taken to date to strengthen the services and supports available for all those affected by domestic violence. PODV worked closely with community and government partners to develop the Provincial Domestic Violence Plan. Consultation included discussion forums with service providers and experts, as well as an online public consultation that drew from the experiences and perspectives of hundreds of British Columbians affected by domestic violence. The Representative for Children and Youth was consulted and briefed on the plan.
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development -
"Our three-year Provincial Domestic Violence Plan will mean better direct service delivery for children, survivors and perpetrators of domestic violence."
"We recognize the anti-violence sector has called for more funding and resources, and we know there is still more work to be done to address violence against women on a larger scale. This plan is the next essential step as we continue to build on the good work we're doing in collaboration with the community anti-violence sector to make B.C. a safer place for women and families."
Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice -
"Domestic violence is a complex, challenging problem with tragic consequences for our lives, families, and communities. To help women at risk, we know we must share information, break down silos and work together. The Provincial Domestic Violence Plan will help us to better reach women and families who are struggling, sometimes for their lives, and assure them they're not alone and there is hope."
Dr. Balbir Gurm, facilitator for the Network to End Violence in Relationships -
"PODV has listened to the sector and prioritized the work that can be done in a three-year cycle. We know some populations are more vulnerable and the plan addresses this; it is a good beginning. This issue cuts across all cultures and we will continue working together to create a community where domestic violence is not tolerated or accepted."
Tracy Porteous, executive director of the Ending Violence Association of BC -
"Domestic violence continues to be a serious and persistent cause of concern in B.C. and across the country. In fact, while many violent crimes are decreasing across Canada, domestic and sexual violence has increased. The plan announced today by ministers Cadieux and Anton marks one more important step forward towards increasing safety for women, children and families in our province."
Margaret Jackson, director of the FREDA centre for Research on Violence Against Women -
"Domestic violence is an important issue for women and their children. The release of the PODV Provincial Domestic Violence Plan represents a significant step forward, through consultation and commitment, to end such violence against women in British Columbia."
Shashi Assanand, executive director of Vancouver & Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services -
"With the establishment of PODV, the Ministry of Children and Families Development has taken a very strong stance in recognizing the plight of women and children who are experiencing domestic violence. PODV has made genuine efforts to seek and consult those who provide services to the most vulnerable populations, including immigrant, refugee, Aboriginal and people with disabilities. This has given our agency the much needed opportunity to share our learning and bring to the attention of the government the challenges immigrant and refugee women face when dealing with the social and the legal systems."
- Funding for the plan is in addition to the more than $70 million per year government commits in prevention and intervention services and programs to help B.C. families involved in domestic violence and other crimes.
- Government supports female victims of violence through more than 100 transition-house programs and over 400 victim-service and violence-against-women counselling and outreach programs.
- Currently, government supports specialized domestic violence police units in Vancouver, New Westminster, Abbotsford and the Capital Regional District (Victoria).
- The Provincial Office of Domestic Violence has contracted for $80,000 with the BC Society of Transition Houses (BCSTH), which is working with the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Services Agencies of BC to develop specialized tools and resources to help settlement workers respond in cases of domestic violence and make timely, appropriate and culturally sensitive referrals.
- In December 2013, the province sent out a call for proposals to grant up to $5,000 each to 17 B.C. communities to help them engage with settlement communities and help support an existing or new integrated case assessment team.
- The Provincial Office of Domestic Violence was created in March 2012 as the permanent lead for the B.C. government, focused on strengthening the services and supports available for children, women and families affected by domestic violence.
To read the plan and learn more about the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence, visit: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/podv/index.htm
Erase Bullying: www.erasebullying.ca/
Together to Reduce Elder Abuse: www.seniorsbc.ca/elderabuse
Be More Than a Bystander: www.endingviolence.org/Be+More+Than+a+Bystander
Violence is Preventable: http://www.bcsth.ca/content/childrens-services-1
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Children and Family Development