EDMONTON, AB, Dec. 9, 2022 /CNW/ - Crisis hotlines are a lifeline to survivors of gender-based violence and are critical support services. During the pandemic, organizations operating crisis hotlines in Alberta reported an increase in the volume of calls, as victims of violence and those seeking related services experienced barriers to safely accessing services.
Today, the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, was joined by Tanya Fir, Alberta's Parliamentary Secretary for Status of Women, to announce $3 Million to support crisis hotlines across Alberta.
This funding will help Alberta's crisis hotlines serve the urgent needs of Canadians. The crisis hotlines will offer more robust services, resources, and support to prevent the escalation of gender-based violence. They will ensure that there is someone at the other end of the phone when someone is in need.
This announcement is just one of the bilateral agreements recently signed with provincial and territorial governments. Since August, the Government of Canada has announced agreements in Manitoba, Yukon, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Over the next few months, the Government of Canada will continue working with other provinces and territories to finalize similar bilateral agreements.
This announcement builds on the endorsement of the National Action Plan to End Gender-based Violence by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers responsible for the Status of Women in early November. The National Action Plan includes five pillars: Support for victims, survivors and their families; Prevention; Responsive justice system; Implementing Indigenous-led approaches; and Social infrastructure and enabling environment.
Since April 2020, the Government of Canada has invested over $250 million of emergency COVID-19 funding in 1,400 women's shelters, sexual assault centers, and other organizations, including 138 organizations that serve Indigenous individuals.
"In recent years, we have seen that the use of crisis hotlines across Canada increased. Having someone on the other end of the line when you need to talk can make a life-changing difference. As we recognize that gender-based violence is an ongoing problem for many Canadians, we also recognize a need to provide adapted emergency services to all victims and survivors—and crisis hotlines are one of these services. With today's announcement, the Government of Canada is delighted to work with Alberta to help provide better support to essential services and to the organizational ecosystem they work within."
The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
"When a person is in crisis, finding help should not be difficult, confusing or time consuming. If you find yourself in a situation where you need help, this 24/7 service through 211 will help to ensure that you get the help and resources you deserve. I'm proud that we are taking strides in supporting survivors of gender-based violence."
Tanya Fir, Parliamentary Secretary for the Status of Women, Alberta
Budget 2021 committed $601.3 million to advance towards the development of the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. This includes $415 million that will be provided to WAGE: $200 million over 2 years to support gender-based violence organizations.
Budget 2021 committed $30 million to help crisis hotlines serve the urgent needs of more Canadians and offer more robust services, resources, and supports to prevent the escalation of gender-based violence.
From before the start of the pandemic to 2021, calls to Alberta's hotlines as much as doubled, both for current or past events as confinement created conditions where people had to deal with their traumatic events or with and increased presence of their abuser.
In Alberta, the surge continues as some crisis hotlines saw a 50% or higher increase in calls from 2021 to 2022—depending on the month.
In 2021, half (49%) of shelters surveyed reported an increase in the number of crisis calls received compared with before the pandemic.
Certain populations that are at risk of GBV or underserved when they experience these forms of violence include Indigenous women and girls; Black and racialized women; immigrant and refugee women; Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and additional sexually and gender diverse (2SLGBTQI+) people; people with disabilities, and women living in Northern, rural, and remote communities.
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SOURCE Women and Gender Equality Canada
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