B.C. grants funding to Victoria Sexual Assault Centre
Victoria Sexual Assault Centre spokesperson Grace Lore speaks with CTV News April 12, 2019. (CTV Vancouver Island)
Todd Harmer, CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, April 12, 2019 4:10PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, April 12, 2019 6:53PM PDT
The B.C. government will provide $200,000 over the next two years to the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre.
The centre's clinic was at risk of closing. The funding will ensure the clinic stays open over the next two years while the centre looks for more stable funding.
Mitzi Dean, B.C.'s parliamentary secretary for gender equity, made the funding announcement Friday.
"It was in a precarious situation and it provides such a vital service," Dean said. "It serves the whole of the region of southern Vancouver Island for any victims of recent sexual assault and it's the only clinic of its kind."
The clinic brings together police, forensic nurses and crisis workers to care for assault survivors.
"This funding is incredible," said Victoria Sexual Assault Centre spokesperson Grace Lore. "It means that we can keep our doors open, it means that survivors of recent sexual assault on the South Island can continue to access medical care, forensic exams and to speak to police if they wish."
The clinic opened in 2016 with a one-time grant from the Ministry of Justice (now the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General).
The annual budget for the clinic is $204,000 with further costs that can add another $80,000.
With financial help from municipalities, grants, donations and the funding announced today, the clinic will still need more money to reach its budget this year.
Lore told CTV News that although they are still short on funding, the clinic has never started a fiscal year this financially sound.
"The work for predictable long-term funding is ongoing," Lore said. "We've been in conversations with police boards, with various elements of the Capital Regional District and, of course, with the province. So I'm optimistic that now we can keep our doors open and continue to provide this service, that we'll be able to continue to have conversations with all the actors involved."
Last year, the clinic responded to 137 recent sexual assaults.