The Manitoba government will give $5.6 million by the end of next March to agencies that help victims of gender-based violence.
On Friday, Justice Minister Cliff Cullen and Cathy Cox, minister responsible for the status of women, launched a call for proposals for organizations to apply for this funding.
The money will be given out in two categories, with one stream for Indigenous-led agencies developing projects to address violence against Indigenous women and girls, and another for community-based organizations developing projects to support victims of crime.
The $5.6 million comes from the province’s victims’ assistance fund, Cullen said. Those monies are generated when people are convicted of a crime and ordered to pay money to the court for the purpose of assisting victims.
While the province provides a variety of services for gender-based violence victims, this funding will allow community-based organizations to come up with other ideas for how to support these victims, Cullen said.
“They may have another approach than what we have in terms of providing services to Manitobans,” he said.
“To me, it’s a really interesting opportunity for Manitobans to give us their ideas in terms of how this money could be used to support victims of crime.”
Cox noted that COVID-19 has resulted in an increased likelihood of intimate partner violence and domestic violence, making it especially important to help address the issue right now.
A national survey released this summer showed gender-based violence during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in Canada was more severe and more frequent, according to those who worked with sexual assault and domestic violence survivors.
On Friday the province also revealed its new Framework to Address Gender-based Violence, a policy document that outlines how the province intends to address this issue in the coming months and years.
Both the funding announcement and framework were in response to the final report of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry.
Anyone affected by family and intimate partner violence can call a confidential 24/7 toll-free crisis line, 1-877-977-0007, staffed by shelters across the province. Texting options are also available at 204-792-5302 or 204-805-6682.
In an emergency, dial 911 or call the local police service.
More information and links are available on the government’s website.