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Posted: September 15, 2015

Local safe home programs get funding

The B.C. government is investing $500,000 to increase access to transition house and safe-home services for Aboriginal women and children who are affected by domestic violence.

“Aboriginal women in B.C. are nearly three times more likely to be victims of domestic violence than non-Aboriginal women – and that’s completely unacceptable,” said Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux Sept. 9. “Whether they need bus tickets, legal counsel or personal documents, this funding will help more Aboriginal women and children get the help they need to escape from violent situations and rebuild their lives.”

The $500,000 has been distributed through BC Housing to 56 transition houses and safe homes to provide subsidies to Aboriginal women and children and to help improve access to transition-house and safe-home programs and services throughout British Columbia.

Two East Kootenay safe home organizations are receiving some of the funding.

The Elkford Women’s Task Force Society’s Elk Valley Safe Home is getting $10,000 and the Family Resource Centre of Invermere will get $5,000 for the Women’s Information and Safe Home (WISH).

“We are committed to working with our partners across the province, including those who manage transition houses and safe homes, to help more Aboriginal women, children and youth feel safe,” said Minister of Natural Gas Development and Minister Responsible for Housing Rich Coleman in a press release. “This funding will help them access the supports they need to regain their independence and build a new life.”

“Sometimes women and children need to flee a violent situation with only the clothes on their backs – they have to rebuild their lives from nothing,” said Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad. “Through this investment, transition houses and safe homes will be able to work with these families to get them what they need and keep them safe.”

For example, the subsidy will be used towards the cost of:

* Transportation to a transition house/safe home, a doctor’s appointment or lawyer meeting, or to fly a high-risk client out of the community.

* Medical and legal services.

* Important documents, such as identification.

* Clothing and personal items if the woman/child had to leave their home quickly.

“Transition houses and safe homes across the province provide a safe, supportive place for women and children who are dealing with the effects of domestic violence and other violent crimes,” said Catherine Talbott, executive director of the BC Society of Transition Houses. “Thanks to this investment, more vulnerable Aboriginal women and children will be able to get the help and support they need to rebuild their lives.”

From 2004 to 2009, it is estimated that more than 160,000 British Columbians were victims of domestic violence.

Over that same period, domestic violence claimed the lives of 113 women in B.C. – an average of 10 women each year.

The Provincial Domestic Violence Plan, which was coordinated through the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence (PODV) 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.

PODV 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.

Two other nearby communities are also in on this round of funds.

A total of $10,000 for the Kootenai Community Centre Society – $5,000 for the Creston Older Women Safe Home Program and $5,000 for the Irvine House Safe Home Program.

And $5,000 to the Golden Women’s Centre Society for its Golden Safe Home.

Domestic violence programs, services and supports in B.C.: www.saysomethingbc.ca/

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