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$250,000 to address violence against women in Surrey and region

Sonya Boyce, executive director, says there are gaps in services for women and girls who have been assaulted, which $250,000 from the federal government will help address. - File Photo / The Leader
Sonya Boyce, executive director, says there are gaps in services for women and girls who have been assaulted, which $250,000 from the federal government will help address.
— image credit: File Photo / The Leader

Women and girls who experience physical and sexual assault in Surrey and the Fraser Valley may soon get better support.

The federal government announced Friday it will give the Surrey Women's Centre Society (SWC) $250,000 to address violence against women in the region.

The money will help the centre fund a project aimed at improving the coordination of intervention for victims – a service coordination that, until now, has been lacking, according to Sonya Boyce, executive director at SWC.

"Generally, it is about bringing those medical, legal and social service stakeholders together to identify where the gaps are in service," said Boyce. "We know women are falling through the cracks, so this project is really around identifying really where those cracks are and developing new ways of working together."

She said while the issue affects all women, it's those who are marginalized – such as aboriginal women, immigrants and sex workers – who suffer most when there are gaps in the system

Corrine Arthur, projects coordinator at SWC, said the society has already been working with various groups that deal with "vulnerable populations" and have identified areas where shortfalls exist.

For example, she said, recent information from those working with youth indicates young women are struggling with the transition to adulthood. Many issues stem from the fact they no longer have access to their youth workers when they reach age 19, making it more difficult to connect with the help and resources they need.

Missing women are also a targeted issue, said Arthur.

"We need to identify when women really are missing and put more effort into finding them."

The funding announcement was made by Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women.

"Our Government is committed to protecting women and girls from violence," said Leitch. "That is why we are holding offenders accountable for their actions, and supporting community-based projects across Canada that address violence against women."

Nina Grewal, MP for Fleetwood-Port Kells was also at Friday's event.

"Gender-based violence is a pervasive issue that touches us all," she said. "Through this project, the Surrey Women's Centre Society is providing effective, targeted, and community-based support to address violence against women and girls across the region."

According to statistics, women who are victims of assault (sexual or physical) are less likely that other victims of crime to report incidents to police or seek medical treatment.

The Surrey Women's Centre offers crisis, court and counselling to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and other forms of family violence.

For 24-hour assistance, phone the crisis line at 604-583-1295.

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