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Crisis lines expand, with $2.75M from feds, to support survivors of gender-based violence

Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre reported a 70% call volume increase with the pandemic

Two Canadian organizations will be getting $2.75 million to expand their crisis lines that provide 24-hour, comprehensive, specialized gender-based violence supports.

Announced Wednesday (May 17), Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society will be receiving the funding over the next four years as part of the federal government’s Women and Gender Equality in the national action plan to end gender-based violence.

The new services from Salal and IRSSS will include risk assessment, immediate safety planning and addressing the unique needs of Indigenous victims.

The crisis lines are meant to complement other local and regional lines, including B.C.’s VictimLinkBC that is available to victims of all types of crime.

Salal currently offers 24-hour immediate crisis assistance and anti-oppressive, decolonizing and intersection feminist support to survivors of gender-based violence, including sexual and domestic violence. It also offers workshops to increase knowledge and awareness about sexual violence in communities throughout B.C.

In 2021-22, Salal’s call volumes increased by more than 70 per cent compared to pre-pandemic call volumes in 2019-20

The IRSSS provides support to Indian residential school survivors, students and intergenerational survivors, while also offering 24-hour crisis support and support for families affected by trauma related to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and trauma-informed cultural support to survivors of gender-based violence.

B.C.’s Gender Equity Parliamentary Secretary Kelli Paddon said people in danger need to know they have options.

“As we continue to develop a gender-based violence action plan for B.C., the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and Salal will help strengthen supports available to ensure people are cared for, provided trauma-informed and culturally appropriate support, and can begin the path toward healing when the time is right for them.”

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, B.C. organizations operating crisis lines reported an increased volume of calls as people experiencing violence and those seeking related services experienced barriers to accessing services safely.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said people experiencing gender-based violence need to be able to access supports and “the care they need when and where they need it.”

“We know there is more to do, and enhancing crisis lines will make a critical difference for many women, girls, transgender and non-binary people across B.C.”

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Lauren Collins

About the Author: Lauren Collins

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media's national team, after my journalism career took me across B.C. since I was 19 years old.
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