KELOWNA – Community organizations working to safeguard vulnerable young people from gang involvement and protect victims of domestic, sexual and other forms of violence will benefit from more than $239,000 in government grants supporting public safety priorities.
This is part of a nearly $7.2 million province-wide investment — the largest-ever one-time grants investment in community crime prevention in B.C. — combining $5.5 million in provincial Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) proceeds and $1.69 million from criminal forfeiture proceeds.
- Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs: $100,000 for the Elevate: Skills Building for At-Risk Youth project. This will provide at risk youth with safe and welcoming spaces; facilitate access to education, offer pre-employment training and assistance to secure appropriate employment; assist youth to develop life and leadership skills; and provide recreational activities.
- Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society:
- $70,000 for the Kelowna Highest Risk Domestic Violence Unit which is comprised of a RCMP DV Officer, Community Based Victim Services and a Child Protection Worker from the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Funding will be used to enhance the capacity of the community-based victim service worker to meet increased demand.
- $40,000 for the Okanagan Child and Youth Advocacy Centre. This project seeks to support the development of a safe, accessible, collaborative service that offers respectful and compassionate care for Okanagan children and youth who have experienced abuse as well as their caregivers.
- Okanagan College: $29,234 for a Safety Awareness Project that builds upon a recent awareness campaign on Okanagan College’s newly developed sexual violence policy and protocol. Funding will support targeted activities identified by the Student Associations. And will take place on all four Okanagan College campuses in Kelowna, Penticton, Salmon Arm and Vernon.
“Crime should not pay. This year marks a decade of civil forfeiture in B.C. – and 10 years of giving back to the community,” says Steve Thomson, MLA for Kelowna-Mission. “These funds will support these organizations and the meaningful work they are doing to address violence and keep people safe.”
“This is the largest-ever one-time grants investment in community crime prevention in our province, helping to keep our communities safe and contributing to a violence-free B.C.,” says Premier Christy Clark, MLA for Westside-Kelowna. “It means these organizations can reach out to at-risk and vulnerable populations, and offer them the protection and services they need to move forward.”
“The Civil Forfeiture Office is doing what it is designed to do— taking away the tools and proceeds of crime, and putting them back into programs that support community crime prevention and safety,” says Norm Letnick, MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country. “Since being established the CFO has forfeited more than $63 million and returned $27 million to communities, including $1.5 in victims’ compensation.”
In all, more than 250 projects and programs throughout the province will receive a one-time grant. Nearly $2 million is dedicated to gang and youth crime prevention, and more than $3.5 million will go to community services that address violence against women and girls. The remainder will support training and education for frontline victims service workers, police training and special equipment, and restorative justice.
This year a new stream of civil forfeiture grants is dedicated to programs focused on sexual assault, including responses to sexual assault on post-secondary campuses. This builds on our Vision for a Violence Free BC, the Province’s long-term strategy to end all forms of violence against women.