Budget concerns

The 2013 BC Budget was released Wednesday, February 20, and there are no increases provided for critical services...

The 2013 BC Budget was released Wednesday, February 20, and there are no increases provided for critical services that respond to violence against women and children throughout BC, nor in the Columbia 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 Golden BC,” said Heather Barrett, Abuse Recovery Counsellor with the Golden Family Center. “Abuse Recovery Counselling provides support for women, children and families who have experienced or witnessed abuse, and we serve Golden, Nicholson, Parson and the surrounding areas.”

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. 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.

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.

“Service providers in our community are eager to be a part of the solution to help eliminate violence against women in relationships and sexual assault.  There is also pressure from regional and federal forces for service providers to do the work necessary to make a difference.  However, this is a call for more work with no change in available resources or funding” said Linley McLean, Executive Director and Outreach Coordinator at the Golden Women’s Resource Centre.

Heather Barrett and Linley McLean agree with Tracy Porteous’, Ending the Violence Association of BC’s Executive Director, statment that “Concrete action is needed to prevent this senseless violence. The time for general statements of support and further study has passed. We need action and programs, not merely more committees, more reports, more plans and more summits”.

Heather Barrett

Golden Family Centre