For Immediate Release: Vancouver, BC 24th July, 2018
This year’s 24 hour census of PEACE programs for children and youth who have experienced violence reveals that there is still greater demand than these over-stretched programs are able to meet. The census found that only 59% of children and youth from BC who attempted to get help from PEACE Programs were able to be offered a place in the program.
During the 24 hour census period, 929 children and youth and their parents/guardians who are survivors of violence were supported in person by PEACE program counsellors. Unfortunately, during the same time period, an additional 1,322 children and youth were still on waitlists for services and 232 people contacted the PEACE Programs through calls, emails, texts and walk in requests but were unable to receive support services that day. Limited staffing hours, space and resources to support children through the complex effects of violence were identified as factors contributing to waits for service.
Joanne Baker, Executive Director of BCSTH, says “this census is a powerful snapshot. It reveals, again, that this vital program remains significantly under-resourced, despite some increase to funding for this year. The good news is that more children and youth are receiving places in the PEACE program than last year – up to 59% from 36% who tried to access help. The bad news is that 40% of those seeking help still have to wait. We are concerned that the funding increase was one-time – not ongoing. And we know that violence against women and their children continues and so will strong demand for this program.”
The Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling and Empowerment (PEACE) Program is a free, confidential program across BC for children and youth aged 3 to 18 who have experienced violence in the home. PEACE programs use psychoeducational methods including individual and group counselling to help children and youth to: understand what violence against women is, that they are not alone, and that the violence is not their fault, They learn to identify support networks, develop a safety plan, coping skills, identify and healthily express their feelings and to recognize their strengths and increase their self-confidence.
Contact: Joanne Baker at 604-669-6943 #226 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to request an interview.