November 25, 2022 – Victoria, British Columbia — Women and Gender Equality Canada
Crisis hotlines are a lifeline to survivors of gender-based violence and are critical support services. During the pandemic, organizations operating crisis lines in British Columbia (BC) reported an increase in the volume of calls as victims of violence and those seeking related services experienced barriers to safely accessing services.
Today, the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced $3 million to support crisis hotlines in British Columbia. Minister Ien was joined by Grace Lore, British Columbia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity, to announce the bilateral agreement.
This funding will support two province-wide crisis hotlines to serve urgent needs by offering information, resources, and support for Indigenous and non-Indigenous survivors of gender-based violence. This is the third provincial crisis hotline agreement that the Government of Canada has announced in as many months.
This announcement builds on the historic endorsement of the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence by the federal, provincial, and territorial ministers responsible for the status of women in early November.
Today also marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an opportunity to recommit to calling out and speaking up against acts of gender-based violence in Canada and around the world.
“Providing timely funding for crisis hotlines is a necessity, and in British Columbia, where the rate of police-reported sexual assault is rising, it is crucial that we support these services. Through this investment, these hotlines will continue providing life-saving services for women fleeing violence. Today, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, we reaffirm our commitment to ending gender-based violence in all its forms.”
The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
“Women, girls, transgender, Two-Spirit, and non-binary people are the most targeted when it comes to gender-based violence. We are committed to ensuring that survivors of violence can access the care they need in their communities when they are comfortable coming forward. That is why we are developing an action plan to address gender-based violence in British Columbia and rebuilding services, such as through funding for sexual assault centres. Crisis lines are a part of that immediate low-barrier and trauma-informed response, and these funds will help expand and strengthen the ability to respond to the specific needs of people experiencing violence.”
Grace Lore, British Columbia’s Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity
- Almost half of anti-violence sector workers surveyed in Canada between May and July 2020 said they noticed changes in the prevalence and severity of gender-based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Between March 2020 and March 2021, BC provided $20 million in grant funding to support the delivery of emergency sexual assault services in regions across the province.
- Starting in the 2023–24 fiscal year, BC will provide $10 million annually to restore stable funding for sexual assault service programs.
- In addition, the BC government provides more than $44 million annually to support more than 400 victim services and violence against women programs.
- BC, through BC Housing, is providing $734 million through the Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund for transition and safe homes, second-stage housing, and affordable housing spaces for women leaving violent situations.
- Since April 2020, the Government of Canada has invested over $240 million of emergency COVID-19 funding in 1,400 women’s shelters, sexual assault centres, and other organizations, including nearly 140 organizations that serve Indigenous individuals.
- The recently endorsed National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence sets out a framework for anyone facing gender-based violence to have reliable and timely access to protection and services, no matter where they live.
Press Secretary and Issues Manager
Office of the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
Women and Gender Equality Canada