The province is providing 20 unique grants to Indigenous community groups to create, develop and offer opportunities to address gender-based violence.
“Indigenous women are three times more likely to be victims of violence, and these projects give voice to stopping violence against Indigenous women and girls by changing behaviours and attitudes and empowering communities,” said Barb Ward-Burkitt, chair of the minister’s advisory council on Indigenous women (MACIW).
The projects are funded through MACIW’s Giving Voice initiative and the provincial government said it has provided $200,000 in funding for this year’s projects, which span all corners of B.C. Grants will range from $5,000 – $16,000.
“Through this initiative, more people are learning to speak out to end gender-based violence. This is how attitudes will change, and we can create a safe environment that promotes healing,” said Murray Rankin, minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation.
The projects include a healing circle for young women in Port Hardy and a Métis education program in Duncan that acknowledges the resilience of Métis mothers and grandmothers.
“As we observe the United Nations’ 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence, it is important to note that in British Columbia, as in the rest of Canada, Indigenous women and girls are more likely to be targeted with this kind of violence,’ said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general.
The Giving Voice initiative supported 53 projects that involved over 2,000 participants throughout B.C. last year, according to the province.
The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence is an annual international campaign that runs from Nov. 25 – Dec. 10. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a spike in domestic violence, according to UN Women, the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Oceanside RCMP saw a 20 per cent increase in domestic violence calls this year over last, according to Const. Tara Gueulette. She shared this info at a virtual panel discussion this week where community partners shared experiences and their efforts to mitigate what they call a shadow pandemic caused by COVID-19 — an increase in gender-based violence.