Communities and families dealing with gun and gang violence, individuals experiencing gender-based violence and Indigenous families healing from traumas will receive more than $8.6 million in grants to support community-based crime prevention and remediation initiatives.
In total, 221 projects are receiving one-time grants through the Civil Forfeiture Crime Prevention and Remediation grant program. These projects are led by not-for-profits, local governments, school districts and more.
“Over the past 15 years, most civil forfeiture cases have been related to drug, gang and organized crime. In turn, it’s appropriate that once again, some of the proceeds are going into gang prevention,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “These annual grants support life-changing and even life-saving work through supporting the prevention of gang involvement and of gender-based violence and violence against women.”
This year, 34 projects related to crime prevention, including projects focused on educating youth on the impacts of gang violence, are receiving $2.2 million. These projects are aimed to make B.C.’s communities safer and assist high-risk youth in providing them with the tools and supports they need to make positive choices to avoid a life of gang and drug violence.
“Today’s youth face difficult choices, enormous peer pressure and more readily available and potent drugs,” said Toby Hinton, executive director, Odd Squad Productions Society. “Combine these factors with increased gang recruitment, and it is vital that we provide at-risk youth with the tools and resources needed to make healthy choices. This grant will allow us to provide Indigenous and other B.C. youth with online programs designed to build resiliency, provide education and empower positive choices with strategies needed to avoid drugs and the gang lifestyle.”
Odd Squad Productions Society is receiving $75,000 for its Gangs, Guns & Fentanyl Focus Groups project for vulnerable at-risk Indigenous youth aged 12-18. The project will develop an online course, facilitated by drug trade and gang lifestyle experts, to reduce and prevent criminal activity, gang involvement and associated drug use.
“Through trauma-informed counselling, our STRONG (Staying True, Real, Original & No Gangs) project will support youth in changing the trajectory of their lives away from gang-related activity,” said Allison Wong, registered clinical counsellor, British Columbia Borstal Association. “Our counselling interventions will increase emotional awareness, improve self-identity and provide the tools and mentorship needed for youth to become strong and contributing members of society.”
The British Columbia Borstal Association is receiving $75,000 for STRONG. This intervention program uses trauma informed therapy to find the root cause and help change the course of negative behaviours for youth aged 6-24 who are involved in or at risk of being involved in gang violence and other criminal behaviour.
The Civil Forfeiture Office 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 safety and crime prevention.
For the full list of 2020-21 grant recipients, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/crime-prevention/community-crime-prevention/grants
To learn more about the Firearm Violence Prevention Act, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021PSSG0019-000378
To learn more about the BC Provincial Forensic Firearms Laboratory, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021PSSG0015-000270
A backgrounder follows.