By Haley Ryan - Metro Halifax
TRURO - Thirteen organizations across the province, including one in Truro, will receive funding to improve their sexual assault services by working together, in a move one community director calls “necessary.”
On Monday, Marilyn More, the minister responsible for the status of women, said $200,000 will be distributed to help groups work on projects and pool resources.
“It is necessary because the resources are there, and we’re missing that step to bring our people to the (them),” said Paula Marshall, executive director of the Mi’kmaq Legal Support Network.
There are higher rates of sexual assault involving Aboriginal women, Marshall said, but many aren’t getting support because they didn’t report the abuse or are wary of going to an unfamiliar place.
“The first step in getting them through the door is having a welcoming community to accept them, and then we can start working on the support services,” she said about partnering with the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre.
More said organizations could also share experts, like social media consultants, instead of each hiring their own.
The announcement is part of the $1.1 million promised by the province to address sexual assault, the largest investment in this area Nova Scotia has ever made, More said.
But More said she feels “terrible” the funding only came after the public outcry around the death of Rehtaeh Parsons, a 17-year-old Cole Harbour teen who took her own life two years after she was allegedly gang raped and then harassed by classmates when a photo of the attack was shared on social media.
“I’m not going to defend status quo or what has or has not happened, but this is our opportunity to change things,” More said. “This time we have to be serious about these issues and make a difference.”
Groups that will receive funding:
LEA Place Women’s Resource Centre, Sheet Harbour: $5,000
Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, Halifax: $22,000
Every Woman’s Centre Association, Sydney: $14,000
Pictou County Women’s Centre, New Glasgow: $4,650
Tri County Women’s Centre, Yarmouth: $18,000
YWCA Halifax, Spryfield: $4,000
Central Nova Women’s Resource Centre, Truro: $7,500
FSENS and Alternatives Association, Antigonish: $10,000
Antigonish Women’s Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association: $4,500
New Start Society, Dartmouth: $11,240
Mi’kmaw Legal Support Network: Eskasoni, $14,750
Survivors of Abuse Recovering Society, Kentville: $8,500
Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia, Halifax: $38,000