Government is providing funding to the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC), so the organization can continue to provide its vitally needed services for survivors of sexualized violence.
“The clinic at the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre is an invaluable resource for survivors of sexual assault, and our government is proud to support their work,” said Mitzi Dean, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “We are committed to creating a province where survivors have the services they need, while we work to end gender-based and sexualized violence.”
Victoria Sexual Assault Centre supports women and trans survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse through advocacy, counselling and empowerment. The centre’s sexual assault clinic program provides crisis support, medical and forensic services, and options for police reporting to recent survivors of sexual assault. The grant of $200,000, through the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, provides the organization with funding to help cover operating costs of the centre’s sexual assault clinic for the next two years.
“Because of this funding from the Province, the doors of this unique and innovative clinic will remain open for sexual assault survivors. This is life-saving help for our clients,” said Jane Sterk, executive director, Victoria Sexual Assault Centre. “While our organization pursues long-term sustainability, we will continue to work with partners so survivors can receive the support they need to heal.”
“Our government is making investments to help meet the demand for vital services, such as counselling and outreach, and crisis support for victims of gender-based violence,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This funding will help enable the organization to continue providing essential services to those impacted by violence.”
To better meet the ongoing need for programs and services provincewide, such as counselling, outreach and crisis support for women and children who experience sexual assault and other crimes, government increased annual funding in Budget 2018. Starting in 2018-19, annual funding increased by $5 million, which will be increased by an additional $3 million in 2020-21, a total increase of $18 million over three years.
The Province funds a range of services to support victims of sexual violence and provides a total of more than $37 million in annual funding to support over 400 victim service and violence against women programs throughout the province.
- British Columbia recorded a 16% increase in reported sexual assaults in 2017 over 2016. Its sexual assault rate went from seventh to eighth highest of the provinces after the #MeToo movement.
- Canada’s most recent victimization survey (2014) showed that a minority (one in 20) of sexual assaults are reported to police and, therefore, police-reported sexual assault data do not reflect the true extent of sexual assault and sexual violence in Canada.
- The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre clinic opened in 2016. It won the BC Health Care Awards 2017 Award of Merit for Collaborative Solutions for its innovative and integrated sexual assault crisis response, including crisis support, medical care and access to justice for survivors of sexual assault.
Victoria Sexual Assault Centre: www.vsac.ca
Statistics Canada report on police-reported sexual assaults: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/85-002-x/2018001/article/54979-eng.htm