Twenty-three organizations across the province will receive grants to support emergency sexual assault services, including a few from the Okanagan and the Shuswap area.
The Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society (COEFS) in Kelowna, the Okanagan Nation Alliance based in Westbank and the Shuswap Area Family Emergency (SAFE) Society will be receiving some of the funding from the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC).
EVA BC will be distributing $10 million over three years through its Emergency Sexual Assault Services (ESAS) grant program. The association said the ESAS grant program will fill in the gaps where funding was cut to sexual assault centres in the province back in 2001.
“For the past 18 years, EVA BC has been in dialogue with the province about both the status of sexual assault response in British Columbia and the significant need for funding for services for survivors. This funding program will provide a huge benefit to survivors of sexual assault in the 23 communities being funded,” EVA BC executive director Tracy Porteous said.
Other communities receiving the funding include the Lake Babine Nation in Burns Lake, Nuxalk Nation in Bella Coola, Yeqox Nilin Justice Society in Williams Lake, Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society in Port Alberni, the Kamloops Sexual Assault Counselling Centre Society, the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre Society, as well as organizations in Surrey and Vancouver among others.
The goal of the funding program is to help organizations deliver community-based, emergency sexual assault response services that are trauma-informed and culturally appropriate from now until March 23, 2023.
Chastity Davis-Alphonse is EVA BC’s Indigenous ESAS co-lead. She said the grant funding is a much-needed opportunity for Indigenous communities in BC to develop and deliver essential services to sexual assault survivors.
“It is a significant step forward in supporting Indigenous communities to develop their own community-based programming that is specific to the needs of their community members,” she said.