On Tuesday, April 7 Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton announced $5 million to prevent violence and crime in BC communities at Killarney Secondary in advance of Prevention of Violence Against Women Week (April 12-18, 2015). The Minister was joined by Vancouver School Board Chair Christopher Richardson, Sexsmith RSVP Project elementary student ambassador Deanna, Killarney SHIFT Project student representative Tanya Findlater and Grade 12 student Vivian Leung.
"This year's civil forfeiture funding is allowing us to support leaders in the community to implement innovative projects that will reach British Columbians in all regions - strengthening and supporting our long-term goal of achieving a violence-free B.C.," says Minister Anton. "We know these funds make a real difference for real people, and that they're effective in putting a dent in crime in B.C. We must - and we will - continue offering these kinds of grants in the coming years to support the community organizations that deliver these critical services as we work towards protecting women in our province from all forms of violence."
An $84,500 grant from the overall funding will help transition the RSVP (Respecting Safety & Violence Prevention) project into 20 schools and support healthy relationship workshops in Vancouver classrooms to support students as they face challenges in the schoolyard, classroom, and amongst family and friends.
"The RSVP program helped me develop my confidence and gave me the tools I needed to deal with my problems. The most important thing this program taught me was how to have a healthy relationship with myself," says Deanna, a grade 7 student from Sexsmith Elementary. "This program is really important for peace, so that we won't feel so alone. I believe this program is important for all children."
Students in the SHIFT program of Killarney Secondary are also benefiting from the civil forfeiture grant.
"Our students are very engaged in modeling healthy, respectful relationships as part of our Girls and Boys Programs. The SHIFT project at Killarney will expand elements of violence prevention by engaging students in a new framework to address issues of violence against women, domestic violence, and family violence," says Findlater. "The $20,000 civil forfeiture grant from the Province will help them build even more positive connections with each other and the broader community."
In total there are 42 school-based prevention programs receiving the grants, which are worth nearly $700,000. It will work with students of all ages and genders to prevent violence and crimes.
"The civil forfeiture grant funds we're receiving today will help us bring anti-violence programming to students in schools across Vancouver," says VSB Chair Richardson. "We know that young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are the most likely to experience the highest rates of violence, so it's incredibly important that we find ways to address the issue of violence against women and create more awareness among young people in our communities."
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