The Province is investing $1.5 million to increase services and supports throughout the province for Aboriginal people who are affected by domestic violence.
Aboriginal women and children reflect a higher percentage of British Columbians who are affected by domestic violence. In fact, Aboriginal women are nearly three times more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence than non-Aboriginal women.
The $1.5-million investment will be used over the next two years to provide direct services for Aboriginal women, men, and children who experience domestic violence.
The Province will work with a partnership table of government, non-government and Aboriginal representatives to develop funding criteria, with a focus on increasing services and supports in rural and remote communities. The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres will distribute the confirmed funding – on behalf of the B.C. government – to partner agencies.
Today’s announcement supports the government’s second- and third-year commitments under the three-year, $5.5-million Provincial Domestic Violence Plan which include improving direct services for Aboriginal children, youth and families in rural and remote communities. Developed in consultation with Aboriginal communities and organizations, the plan supports culturally relevant approaches and programs for Aboriginal people who are affected by domestic violence, including survivors and perpetrators.
John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation –
“By working with my Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women, the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres and our other key partners, this funding will provide additional supports that Aboriginal people need to feel safe, live free of fear and violence, and to reach their full potential.”
Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development –
“It is an unfortunate fact that Aboriginal women and children are at a higher risk of being victims of violence in B.C. This funding will help Aboriginal people who experience domestic violence to get the help they need to rebuild their lives by providing them with services and supports no matter where they live in the province.”
Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice –
“The government established the Vision for a Violence Free BC strategy to set a course for a province where all women have the supports they need to prevent, escape and recover from violence and its devastating impacts. This funding drives forward a key priority in this strategy, which is to work together with our Aboriginal partners to support women experiencing violence where, and in ways, it is needed most.”
Chastity Davis, chair of the Minister’s Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women (MACAW) –
“The Province made an important funding announcement today, and our council is pleased to continue to provide advice and collaboration with partners on this very critical priority – to address and prevent all forms of violence against Aboriginal women and girls so they can achieve their full potential.”
- In 2013, there were 12,359 police-reported victims of intimate partner violence throughout the province. However, it is estimated that only about one in four women ever report their abuse to police.
- The B.C. government commits more than $70 million per year in prevention and intervention services, and programs that benefit victims of domestic violence and other crimes.
- This year, the Province invested more than $5 million in civil forfeiture grant funding to support community-led anti-violence and crime prevention initiatives, with $3.4 million devoted to projects that support the Vision for a Violence Free BC Strategy.
- The strategy is B.C.’s long-term path to creating a province where all women have the supports they need to help prevent violence, escape from violent situations, and recover if they have been victims of violence.
- Over $1 million in civil forfeiture grants this year were provided to fund 58 projects focused on supporting Aboriginal communities in anti-violence and prevention initiatives.
- In 2014, over $3.6 million in civil forfeiture grants were used to support vulnerable women, and over $750,000 was allocated to crime prevention and anti-violence projects supporting Aboriginal communities.
- The Province has committed to dedicating a portion of civil forfeiture funds in future years to support the Vision for a Violence Free BC strategy.
- In February 2015, government helped open a newly integrated Domestic Violence Unit (DVU) in Surrey, and the new Nanaimo DVU opened in April, bringing the total number of DVUs in the province to seven.
- The Province will provide $400,000 over the next two years to support 37 community groups as they give voice to the issue of stopping violence against Aboriginal women and girls.
- These Giving Voice projects are designed by and for Aboriginal women and agencies to change behaviours and attitudes, and mobilize communities. The grants will support projects like:
- A program in Nanaimo for women to share and record stories of resilience and strength in overcoming violence, including a cultural longhouse ceremony honouring young women and their unique role of creator.
- A men’s workshop in Kelowna to teach traditional parenting skills, the role of men as protectors, and more respectful relationships.
- Through the Off-Reserve Aboriginal Action Plan, the government continues to support the BC Aboriginal Association of Friendship Centre Moose Hide Campaign, which supports Aboriginal men as they stand up against violence against women.
- The Provincial Domestic Violence Plan, which was co-ordinated through the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence in consultation with the public and anti-violence stakeholders, aims to make B.C. a safer place for women, children and anyone who has been affected by domestic violence.
- 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 find out more about domestic violence programs, services and supports in B.C., visit: www.saysomethingbc.ca/
To read the Provincial Domestic Violence Plan and learn more about the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence, visit: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/podv/index.htm
To read the Vision for a Violence Free BC strategy, visit: www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/victimservices/shareddocs/pubs/violence-free-bc.pdf
For more information on additional government services and supports for Aboriginal children, youth, and their families, visit: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/about_us/aboriginal/index.htm
For more information on the Minister's Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women (MACAW), visit: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/aboriginal-people/minister-s-advisory-council-on-aboriginal-women-macaw
For more information about the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres: www.bcaafc.com/
A backgrounder follows.