Vernon’s Okanagan Indian Band had dipped into some significant funds targeting domestic violence.
Approximately $65,000 is being delivered for OKIB’s unique ‘A Canoe Journey’ program, a three-day canoe journey ending at a traditional gathering place to build respectful relationships and work on skills to prevent conflict, abuse and violence.
“These programs provide such important supports for Aboriginal women and families dealing with domestic violence,” said Eric Foster, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “This funding will help expand on these essential services and will undoubtedly have a positive effect within the Aboriginal community.”
Aboriginal women and children are more likely than non-Aboriginal British Columbians to be directly affected by domestic violence. Aboriginal women are nearly three times more likely to be victims of intimate partner violence than non-Aboriginal women.
“Domestic violence is never acceptable,” said Premier Christy Clark. “I’m pleased to support these important organizations that make a real impact for Aboriginal women and children facing these appalling circumstances.”
In 2013, there were 12,359 police-reported victims of intimate partner violence throughout B.C. However, it is estimated that only about one in four women ever report their abuse to police.
The OKIB and other successful applicants were chosen by a partnership table comprised of representatives from the Minister’s Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women, the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, the Provincial Office of Domestic Violence and the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation and the Ministry of Justice.
“Our council continues to collaborate with the province to find ways to address the systematic issues and root causes that are the reasons that domestic violence is occurring at alarmingly high rates to Aboriginal women and their children,” said Chastity Davis, Minister’s Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women. “We believe this funding is a good start to address the issues as specific to our communities’ unique needs throughout the province to help men, women and children overcome abuse and live healthy safe lives.”
These are among 24 projects receiving a total of $1.5 million to launch or expand Aboriginal services as part of B.C.’s three-year Provincial Domestic Violence Plan, which sees its second anniversary this week.
The plan has allocated $2 million for Aboriginal communities and organizations to develop and deliver local programs for Aboriginal women, men and children affected by domestic violence. In September 2015, the province announced $500,000 was being invested to increase access to transition house and safe-home services for Aboriginal women and children affected by domestic violence.