Gender-Based Violence COVID19 Response Fund Provided By GovernmentPublished on May 13, 2020
Governments commits monumental investments to further combat gender-based violence
May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month. COVID-19 has made a focus on sexual assault more important than ever. Many reports indicate rates of sexual assault and intimate partner violence are on the rise as people are forced to shelter in their homes, regardless of the safety of their living situation.
The government is taking action and here are some of the steps that have been taken so far:
• $148 million to help municipalities and social service providers continue to deliver their critical services while keeping clients safe and healthy
• $40 million to support organizations that provide residential services for children and youth, people with developmental disabilities and emergency shelters for women and families fleeing domestic violence
• Shelter workers are deemed essential for child care purposes
• $2.7 million to Victim Services via the Attorney General’s office
To further support those who need and rely on these services, and to help those on the frontlines caring for some of our most vulnerable, the Associate Minister of Children and Women's Issues announced a $1 million Response Fund. This includes $200,000 for the Assaulted Women’s Helpline as well as the Seniors Helpline. Her statement is below:
"May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month, an important time to recognize those on the frontlines who are working each and every day to prevent sexual assault, gender-based violence and human trafficking. These professionals are dedicated and compassionate individuals who give selflessly to support those most in need.
Clearly, these extraordinary times are creating extraordinary challenges. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak there has been an increased risk of gender-based violence for many individuals who have been staying home and practicing physical distancing for weeks now.
It is crucial that Ontarians who have experienced or are at risk of sexual assault, gender-based violence or human trafficking have continued access to counselling and other critical services they need to stay safe, heal and rebuild their lives.
To further support those who need and rely on these services, the government is investing $1 million to help frontline agencies adapt to remote service delivery and ensure continued operation during COVID-19.
This funding will assist counselling service providers like the Assaulted Women's Helpline, who also work the Seniors Safety Line, which will receive $200,000 to develop text and online chat platforms, set up toll-free lines, provide on-demand interpreter services and hire additional staff to respond to increased call volume.
Along with the $40 million relief fund for residential service providers and emergency funding for victim services we have already provided, this response fund will ensure a range of critical supports remain available at this time. This is in addition to the government's large investment of $148 million in relief funding to ensure municipalities and social service providers can better respond to COVID-19.
Together with our partners, the remains committed to preventing sexual assault, gender-based violence and human trafficking, as well as supporting victims, survivors and those at risk of these crimes. Again, I would like to express my deep appreciation to those on the frontlines who are working tirelessly to ensure that people experiencing sexual and gender-based violence receive the support they need in this uncertain and difficult time."