The Manitoba government is investing $2 million as part of a new funding model for women's resource centres across the province to support family violence prevention programs (FVPP), representing an overall budget increase to the centres of 96 per cent, Families Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women, announced today.
"On International Women's Day, it is important to recognize the crucial work the family violence prevention sector does across Manitoba to support women who have experienced gender-based violence. Gender-based violence is a pervasive and complex issue that impacts the emotional, physical, social, and economic health of survivors and their families," said Squires. "These centres provide vital wraparound services that support each woman who has experienced gender-based violence to heal, regain independence and break the cycle of violence."
Resource centres provide Manitobans with access to a variety of important services and assist domestic or gender-based violence survivors and their families to establish their independence. The centres also provide assistance and support to navigate public services such as Child and Family Services, Probation Services, Victim Services, Legal Aid, and Employment and Income Assistance.
Funding to FVPP agencies has not increased since 2013, while the cost of living and provision of services has increased greatly. Additional challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, including staff recruitment and retention, increased demand for services, and survivors presenting more complex needs have also added to the demands of centres.
The funding is going to the following women's resource centres:
- Fort Garry Women's Resource Centre Inc., Winnipeg;
- Interlake Women's Resource Centre Inc., Gimli;
- Lakeshore Family Resource Centre Inc., Ashern;
- North End Women's Centre Inc., Winnipeg;
- Pluri-elles (Manitoba) Inc., Winnipeg;
- Swan Valley Crisis Centre Inc., Swan River;
- Western Manitoba Women's Regional Resource Centre Inc., Brandon;
- West Central Women's Resource Centre, Winnipeg; and
- Women's Safe Haven/Resource Service Inc., Flin Flon.
"This increase to resource centre funding will help centres improve accessibility and extend current outreach and community programs and services," said Jennifer Campbell Moore, director and women's counsellor, Interlake Women's Resource Centre. "The need for counselling services continues to increase and this funding will help to enhance staffing capacity so that we may provide support to more women and children."
To address these challenges, Budget 2023 announced a new funding model that will increase the total budget amount to $4.1 million from $2 million. The new model provides equitable operational funding by considering agency size and programming and ensures funding necessary to address needs in local communities. The model includes dedicated funding for professionalized staff salaries, funding for recruiting additional staff including children's programming support workers and investments in staff training.