Ontario Supporting Agencies and Survivors through the Gender Based Violence Relief Fund

In Community, Local

Associate Minister Dunlop and MPP Piccini visit agencies in Northumberland-Peterborough South

On September 8, 2020, Hon. Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, visited local agencies in Northumberland-Peterborough South with MPP Piccini to meet with staff and board members, and thank our community partners and frontline service providers.

In May 2020, the government announced a one-time $1 million response fund to help frontline counselling agencies adapt to remote service delivery and ensure continued operation during the COVID19 outbreak. Of this $1 million, the Ministry of Children and Women’s Issues committed $200,000 to the Assaulted Women’s Helpline, which also operates the Seniors Safety Line, to develop text and online chat platforms, set up toll-free lines, and provide on-demand interpreter services to respond to increased call volumes.

As the province navigates the impacts of COVID-19, this funding will help support people experiencing, or at risk of gender-based violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking to access counselling and other critical services they need to stay safe, heal, and rebuild their lives.

The government has made the following additional social services investments to date:
· $40 million COVID-19 Residential Relief Fund to help address increased residential costs at organizations. This includes emergency shelters and residential service providers that support women and families fleeing domestic violence and survivors of human trafficking.

· $200 million in relief funding so social service providers can continue to help the province’s most vulnerable.

· $75 million to supply personal protective equipment and critical medical supplies to front-line health workers to tackle COVID-19.

Associate Minister Dunlop and MPP Piccini visited Cornerstone Family Violence Prevention Centre, an organization that has been assisting women and their children since 1983. They discussed the programs and services provided through the Centre, including supportive short term living and counselling, educational information about abuse, and the crisis line which is available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

They also visited Five Counties Children’s Centre to meet with CEO Scott Pepin and tour the Children’s Treatment Centre. The Centre is funded by the Ministry to deliver core community-based and schoolbased rehabilitation services including speech and language pathology, occupational therapy and  physiotherapy. Northumberland County EarlyON Child and Family Centre has partnered with Five Counties Children’s Centre and will be moving into a new space at the Five Counties office in Cobourg.

Associate Minister Dunlop and MPP Piccini finished their tour at Rebound Child and Youth Services, a not-for-profit charitable organization providing community-based programs and services to children, youth and families in Northumberland County. Programming and services encourage mental wellness and positive growth through counselling, skills building and restorative practices to ensure that children and youth are supported to reach their fullest potential. Funded programs include extrajudicial measures/sanctions, re-integrative and supportive services, and youth mental health court worker.

“Gender-based violence is not new. Unfortunately, one of the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak was a heightened risk for those experiencing this kind of aggression. Our government is working closely with our partners to respond to new challenges in managing the health and well-being of those experiencing gender-based violence. The continued safety of staff and the people they serve are of the utmost importance as we stay the course and begin to reopen the province. The Gender Based Violence Relief Fund helped guarantee that survivors received the support they needed to continue their healing.” – Hon. Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues

“Our government is proud to recognize the many service providers and community partners across Ontario doing critical work to support people experiencing, or at risk of gender-based violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. Over the past several months, they have provided continued supports to victims during the COVID-19 outbreak. We deeply appreciate their unwavering dedication. By working together, we will better protect those most vulnerable and keep our communities safe.” – David Piccini, MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

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