Funding for Domestic Violence Programs

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Click to watch video: Question Period-Sept 22/09- Funding For Domestic Violence Programs

B.C. Liberals Creating Chaos For Organizations Supporting Survivors Of Domestic Violence

September 29, 2009

Sudden reversal on funding leaves programs short millions over next two years, says New Democrats

VANCOUVER— The B.C. Liberals’ disorganized and haphazard attempts to cover up their pre-election budget lies will leave programs to support survivors of domestic violence short millions of dollars over the coming two years, the New Democrats said today.

“The B.C. Liberals’ attempts to band-aid the cuts to programs for survivors of domestic violence is just a ploy to mitigate yet another botched and chaotic post-election budget mess,” said New Democrat solicitor general critic Mike Farnworth.

“They are doing nothing to provide long-term stability and certainty for organizations who support survivors of domestic abuse and the children who witness it, despite the rising demand for these services and, in many cases, massive waiting lists.”

New Democrat women’s caucus chair Michelle Mungall noted that the B.C. Liberals will be cutting funding for domestic violence programs by $440,000 next year and will still be slashing the budget for transition houses by $700,000 next year, despite their announcement earlier today that they are backing down from plans to cut $440,000 from programs for survivors of domestic violence this year.

Similarly, although the B.C. Liberals have agreed to fund an innovative program in New Westminster which pairs a police officer with a social worker until next March, there are no plans to support the program in the long term.

“Groups working with women and children who have survived violence are still waiting for more details from the government about what this sudden reversal means for the services they provide,” said Mungall.

At a press conference earlier today with city councilors from around the province and representatives of agencies that support survivors of domestic violence, Mungall noted that more than 100 women are on the waitlist for programs like the Stop the Violence counseling provided by Family Services of Greater Vancouver, yet this organization will still be facing pressure to make cuts next year.

“These programs help survivors of violence break the cycle of abuse and gain the courage to go to court,” said Mungall. “These programs counsel children who might otherwise struggle to understand the violence they witnessed in isolation and silence. The people who provide these services shouldn’t have to be continually fighting to maintain their core funding because of the B.C. Liberals’ inability to get their priorities straight.”

Mungall said that government cuts to front-line agencies and transition houses mean that services for survivors and witnesses of domestic violence are set to be cut by $1.2 million next year.

The B.C. Liberal government has an especially poor record on dealing with women’s issues, children’s issues and domestic violence, which includes:

  • Eliminating funding for women’s centres across the province;
  • Eliminating funding for a successful program in New Westminster which pairs a police officer with a social worker to deal with domestic violence calls;
  • Creating chaos at the Ministry of Children and Families through ongoing cuts and restructuring;
  • Failing to fully implement the recommendations of the Hughes report on child protection;
  • Eliminating the province’s only crown prosecutor specializing in domestic violence, even after the position was heralded as a model by the Representative for Children and Youth;
  • The highest rate of child poverty in the country for five years running; and,
  • Eliminating the ministry of women’s equality.

Carole James and the New Democrats have been holding the B.C. Liberals accountable for breaking their word on the HST, and for backtracking on their election promises to protect health care, education, and other vital services.