The 2013 BC Budget was released yesterday, and there are no increases provided for critical services that respond to violence against women and children throughout BC, nor in the Comox Valley.
Yet awareness of violence against women and children is rising and service delivery pressures are at an all time high. Many reports make recommendations for change and increased funding, however no new resources have been allocated in the government’s budget for safety and services for women and kids.
“We were disappointed to see no increases for services that would help families and women and children experiencing domestic and sexual violence in the Comox Valley” said Heather Ney, Executive Director of the Comox Valley Transition Society. “Our programs provide emergency shelter and a variety of support services to women and their children who have experienced abuse and violence. We provide service to 2500 women and children every year. We are running a wait list for Women’s Counselling and Lilli House was full 181 nights last year.”
This is despite numerous Coroner’s Inquests and Death Review Panels across North America that have identified that access to such services is critical to life-saving help for victims.
The 2013 budget includes a $197 million dollar surplus. It also includes an added $5 million to address problem gambling and $52 million for increased RCMP costs including costs associated with gang activity. Yet there are no increases to ensure victims of domestic and sexual violence have access to important life-saving support services.
While the BC Government has spent significant resources on Commissions of Inquiry and Justice Reform initiatives, there are no funds in the budget to implement these and other report recommendations. Examples of these reports include: Forsaken: The Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry; BC’s Domestic Violence Death Review Panel Report; Honoring Christian Lee; Kaitlyn, Max and Corydon; BC Policing and Community Safety Plan; Family Law Reforms; White Papers on Justice Reforms.
“Concrete action is needed to prevent this senseless violence. We need increased funding and we need housing for women and their children who are rebuilding their lives.”
— Comox Valley Transition Society