by Alex Gregory
One of the province’s most underserved areas will get a lifeline for victims of crime.
The provincial government announced plans Wednesday to invest more than $1 million into Dufferin County to support support services for victims of sexual abuse — part of funding revealed through last week’s budget.
The new services will support female victims and survivors of sexual assault through counselling, peer support, advocacy and 24-hour crisis support by phone.
Attorney General Doug Downey and Dufferin- Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones said that the funding will be provided over the next three years, and will be support local organizations and partners through a request for proposals to deliver services.
“Dufferin County has long been underserved in terms of supports and services for victims of sexual violence, and I’m proud of the historic work our government has done to bring these vital new services to our region,”
Jones said Wednesday. “Our government will continue to standup for victims of crime in our region and invest in the growth of safer communities.”
A pilot program that previously offered up to four hours of free legal advice to survivors of sexual abuse in Toronto, Ottawa and Thunder Bay will also be expanded across the province, beginning on May 1.
In a statement Wednesday, the province said it would be working with victim service organizations to improve collaboration across the sector and make it easier and quicker for victims to find services when they need them.
“Our government is committed to protecting and supporting victims of crime in every region of our province, including in rural and Northern communities,” said Downey.
“The investments will help ensure victims and survivors can access supports and services when they are needed most, no matter where Oversight and accountability will also be key as the new supports roll out, with a new complaints resolution program, and modernization of the Office for Victims of Crime are all planned to help victims.