Funding will enhance police and community partner collaboration.
The Ontario government is investing $5.9 million over two years through the Victim Support Grant (VSG) program to enhance the support of survivors of intimate partner violence and human trafficking.
The VSG Program provides funding to build resources and address the needs of victims and survivors of intimate partner violence or human trafficking. In addition, the grant enables police services to collaborate with community-based agencies, organizations or Indigenous communities and develop new or enhance existing community initiatives.
The funded projects will create culturally safe, respectful and responsive environments and launch education and awareness campaigns to inform at-risk groups about the signs of intimate partner violence or human trafficking.
Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues Jane McKenna said that the new funding would help provide survivors and those at risk with specialized support and resources to ensure their safety and help rebuild their lives. “Intimate partner violence affects people of all genders, ages, racial, ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds though women are three and a half times more likely than men to be victimized.”
The Ontario government will provide support to 37 police services working with local organizations and community partners across the province, and 17 funded projects will focus on addressing the needs of Indigenous survivors or strengthening relationships with Indigenous organizations and communities.
Funding from the VSG program will establish comprehensive wrap-around resources, support and services for survivors and at-risk individuals through enhanced police and community partner collaboration.
The grant will support intervention programs for suspected or confirmed instances of intimate partner violence or human trafficking and provide specialized training to law enforcement, including frontline officers, support personnel and community members.
The government is also allocating funds to increase technology and equipment to enhance police investigation, improve evidence collection, and provide survivors with an option to complete interviews remotely.
The Durham Regional Police Service is one of the 37 police services receiving funding. It will work with Durham Region Victim Services and Dnaagdawenmag Binnoojiiyag Child & Family Services to provide immediate, on-site intervention services, connect individuals to several community services and deliver culturally appropriate human trafficking awareness campaigns.
“Our government is giving community partners resources to help victims, survivors, and those at risk to ensure that our partners have the necessary tools to provide immediate support and on-site services to those in need,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge.
Ontario’s Solicitor General, Sylvia Jones, said intimate partner violence and human trafficking are heinous crimes with devastating impacts, which is why the government is protecting those at risk and supporting survivors.
“With this new investment, police services and community partners across the province will work together to help more survivors and at-risk individuals get the supports they need where and when they need them most.”
The grant supports the government’s commitment to combat gun violence and gang-related activities, including human trafficking. The VSG program also complements the province’s $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy 2020-2025 and Combating Human Trafficking Act, 2021.