Victim services programs under provincial review

Province provides $1 million in additional funding this year

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Three local victim services organizations will receive nearly $170,000 from the Ministry of the Attorney General for 2019-20.

Amelia Rising Sexual Assault Centre of Nipissing will receive $86,718 through the Sexual Assault Centre Program.

The Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing will receive $50,500 through the Partner Assault Response Program.

Nipissing Transition House will receive $32,500 through the Family Court Support Worker Program.

The province also will be providing $1 million in additional funding to sexual assault centres around the province, increasing overall funding for the centres to $15.8 million in 2019-20.

This additional funding will directly support sexual assault centres across Ontario, which offer free and confidential specialized support services to survivors of sexual violence.

The ministry also will undertake a comprehensive review to ensure victims of crime and their families can access the help they need when and where they need it most.

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Victim services programs overseen by the Ministry of the Attorney General will see their funding maintained next year at current levels while a comprehensive review of all such programs provided across the government takes place, Attorney General Caroline Mulroney said Tuesday.

“We want the results of our review to have a victim services program that’s victims-centred and focused, one that’s simple for victims to access in their time of need,” Mulroney said.

“We’re providing this $1 million this year but we’re going to be conducting this review so we can make sure we are supporting victims and their families in the way that they need going forward.”

The funds for sexual assault centres are less than the 30 per cent budget increase announced in the Kathleen Wynne Liberals’ 2018 budget, but Mulroney argued the former government waited until the eve of an election to promise more money.

The Ministry of the Attorney General supports 15 separately funded victims programs, provided by 214 agencies across the province through 252 separate transfer payment agreements at an annual cost to the ministry of $60.2 million, according to the government.

In addition, the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services doles out $176 million to more than 400 agencies providing violence-against-women services. The Health Ministry funds 35 hospital-based sex assault and domestic violence treatment centres, available to victims 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It’s a complicated system that needs to be reviewed to eliminate overlap, and the results should be known within about a year, Mulroney said.

The additional $1 million for sexual assault centres will bring their total funding to $15.8 million in 2019-20.

With files from Antonella Artuso / Postmedia

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