EDMONTON — The provincial government has announced additional funding for survivors of sexual violence.
Stephanie McLean, Minister of Status of Women, announced the province will be giving $8.1 million to the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS) to help support survivors who come forward.
“Courageous women in Alberta and around the world are finally breaking their silence and sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment,” McLean said in a statement. “We hear them and we stand with them. Today, we are taking action – funding more counselling and helping people navigate the court and police systems so all survivors are supported on their healing journey.”
Sexual assault centres and law enforcement are reporting an increased demand for counselling services due to the #MeToo and #IBelieveYou movements.
The money comes from the Ministries of Health, Justice and Solicitor General and Community and Social Services.
The funding breakdown sees $6.225 million for increased counselling, outreach and education services, and to develop a Collaborative Community Response Model targeting seven regions in the province that are underserved.
The regions include:
- North West – High Level, High Prairie, Peavine, Rainbow Lake, Fort Vermillion
- North East – Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay, Janvier
- North Central – Wabasca, Slave Lake, Athabasca
- Central West – Hinton, Jasper, Edson
- Central East – Bonnyville, Cold Lake, St. Paul, Lac La Biche
- Bow Valley – Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise
- South West – Lethbridge, Cardston, Taber, Pincher Creek.
The money raised will also allow AASAS to hire more staff for the underserved communities.
The money also includes $750,000 for specialized counselling and expanded services and $1.09 million for enhanced police and court support services to help survivors navigate the court system.
A $75,000 allotment is going to the Red Deer-based Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre for the creation of a full-time Police and Court Support Worker position.
Since 2015, the provincial government has invested $44 million towards programs addressing sexual violence in Alberta.
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