Ontario government announces $35 million to help women victims of domestic violence

Archived Release

Ontario government announces $35 million to help women victims of domestic violence

Ministry of Community and Social Services

TORONTO, Aug. 7 /CNW/ - To help better protect women victims of domestic violence, John Baird, the Minister of Community and Social Services, announced today that the Ontario government will build more shelter beds in the province.
Tough choices made by the government since 1995 have in part made it possible for the Ontario government to announce that it will spend $26 million to build over 300 shelter beds to help stop domestic violence and give more women a safe place to go.
Today's announcement of 300 new and 136 refurbished beds across the province underscores the Ontario government's commitment to helping women victims of domestic violence.
Baird also announced an additional $3 million this year, growing to $9 million annually, for counselling and other services in shelters to better support women and their children.
"Our government is taking an important step today towards helping more women victims of domestic violence and their children find a safe place to go," said Baird. "There are about 1,700 shelter beds in Ontario for women to go to tonight. With today's announcement, we hope to provide many more places to go for them and their children."
"Domestic violence affects women of all races and cultural groups, social status and income levels," said Dianne Cunningham, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues. "This investment in communities across the province is consistent with our vision of an Ontario where women live free from violence, and can make choices that lead to life and career success."
"This new funding is welcome news," said Anne-Marie Gardner, executive director of Redwood Shelter. "It will help shelters expand the level of support that can be offered to women and children."
The Ontario government has made it a priority to provide supports to victims of violence in the province.



Helping Women and their Children Escape Violence
The Ontario government is spending $26 million to create more shelter space for women and their children fleeing abusive situations. The approved funding will provide an additional 300 new beds and refurbish another 136 in women's shelters across the province. The government also announced it will spend an additional $3 million in 2001/2002, growing to $9 million annually, for counselling and other supports for these new beds.

Summary of approved number of beds

Creation of four new shelters ($8 million):

Western part of Durham 25 new beds
Ottawa (2 shelters) 40 new beds
London/Southwestern Ontario 25 new beds

Renovating existing space and converting some emergency hostels into
shelters ($6 million):

Georgina 20 new beds
Cambridge 19 new beds
Burlington 10 new beds
Guelph/Wellington 10 new beds
Hamilton 9 new beds
Brantford 5 new beds and 9 refurbished beds
Bowmanville 15 new beds
Oshawa 15 new beds
Brampton 27 new beds
Toronto (2 shelters) 50 new beds

Replacing and expanding five shelters in poor physical condition ($9.5

Hamilton 5 new beds and 9 refurbished beds
Sioux Lookout 4 new beds and 10 refurbished beds
Sudbury 8 new beds and 24 refurbished beds
Kingston 5 new beds and 20 refurbished beds
Toronto 8 new beds and 22 refurbished beds

Replacing two shelters in poor physical condition and refurbishing one
shelter ($1.7 million):

Lindsay 18 refurbished beds
Brockville 10 refurbished beds
North Bay 14 refurbished beds

Support for Abused Women and their Children
There are four key initiatives in the ministry's Violence Against Women (VAW) program that serve abused women and their children:

Shelters and Related Services
Shelters provide a range of services, including residential support
for women and their children, crisis telephone counselling, and
supportive/practical counselling to women while in the shelter and
after they start their new lives.

Transitional Support Programs
Transitional Support Workers help abused women prepare for life after
leaving the shelter and teach them how to use the resources in their
community to establish lives free of domestic violence.

Counselling is provided to women by over 100 community-based
agencies. The purpose is to help women break the cycle of violence
and rebuild their lives.

Early Intervention Programs for Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence
Intervention programs for child witnesses of domestic violence help
children recover from witnessing abuse in their homes, deal with the
trauma they experienced and understand that violence and abuse is not
their fault.

An additional eight shelters are funded by the government through the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy. This year, the government will spend more than $140 million on violence against women prevention services. Of this amount, the Ministry of Community and Social Services will spend $85 million.

Previous Government Investments

- In the May 2000 budget the government announced:
$10 million to increase the number of Domestic Violence Courts from 16
to 24 across the province.
$10 million to establish two new programs to support women and children
who have experienced violence.

- In the 1999 spring budget, this government committed an additional $18
million annually to the development of a Domestic Violence Justice

- Ten ministries have undertaken over 40 initiatives through the Agenda
for Action, announced in 1997. For example:
- The Ministry of the Attorney General launched Domestic Violence
Court pilots across the province.
- The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care piloted an expansion of
the Sexual Assault Treatment Centres to serve victims of domestic
- The Ministry of Community and Social Services, together with the
other nine ministries, developed a performance management system
to measure the benefits of government programs for women and
children. Based on this information we are continuing to improve
our response to abused women and children.

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For more information visit http://www.gov.on.ca/
For further information: Dan Miles, Minister's Office, (416) 325-5215; Dianne Lone, Ministry of Community and Social Services, (416) 325-5156