Services for survivors of sexual violence to expand with additional budget funding
27 April 2023
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Services for survivors of sexual violence will expand to more communities around the province thanks to funding in the 2023-24 budget for Women’s Equality.
Main estimates were tabled recently, totalling $6.4 million – a 37.5 per cent increase over last year.
“Part of the theme for this year’s budget is delivering for New Brunswickers. It is critical that we deliver important services to more people, including survivors of sexual violence,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace, who is also the minister responsible for women’s equality. “We must address this issue in our communities; the impact is too great, in the short- and long-term, on the mental and physical health of individuals and on the safety of communities.
“This expansion to more communities will increase awareness and prevention and provide much-needed support to survivors. Changing the culture of tolerance and acceptance will make a difference.”
Community-based sexual violence services will now be available to more people than ever before, with $800,000 allocated to expand specialized crisis support and trauma counselling to Bathurst, Campbellton, Kent County, Miramichi, St. Stephen, Shediac, Sussex and Woodstock.
Those services are already available in Fredericton, Moncton, Edmundston, the Acadian Peninsula and Saint John as a result of investments made during the 2022-23 budget.
More action will be taken this year to address sexual violence on the campuses of publicly funded post-secondary institutions. Over $430,000 will go toward working with those institutions to improve prevention and response to sexual violence.
Other initiatives related to addressing sexual violence include:
- A conference on sexual violence prevention, research and effective practices.
- Co-ordinating and centralizing sexual violence education and training in an online platform.
- Co-ordinating sexual violence services for Indigenous people.
Additional Women’s Equality initiatives planned for this year include:
- Developing a provincial implementation plan in response to the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence.
- An operational and service delivery review of domestic and intimate partner violence service organizations funded by Women’s Equality and the Department of Social Development.
- Expanding offerings of Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) training to include GBA+ In Action sessions, giving public servants an opportunity to apply their knowledge to case studies.
- Launching an Equality Profile website, which will provide stakeholders and the public with recent, relevant statistical information about the status of women and gender diverse individuals in the province.
Gender impact assessment
This year was the third year that Women’s Equality collaborated with the Department of Finance and Treasury Board to release the Gender Impact Statement alongside the budget.
The Gender Impact Statement is designed around the core principles of Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+), which is a process intended to reduce systemic inequalities and advance gender equality.
“Applying this lens to the budget planning process takes into account all gender and marginalized realities, and also improves overall accountability and transparency,” said Scott-Wallace. “This has become a valuable process, better illustrating how our decisions affect all New Brunswickers.”
GBA+ Impact Assessments were conducted on 40 budget items this year, compared to just 17 last year, representing an increase of 135 per cent.
Leigh Watson, communications, Women’s Equality, firstname.lastname@example.org.