Ontario is putting $250,000 into the fight to end violence against women in rural Southwestern Ontario.
The province announced Friday the funding will be doled out to eight organizations and one regional First Nation to help improve access to support for women in rural areas who are victims of violence or abuse.
“Someone’s location should not act as a barrier to access quality care and services,” Jane McKenna, associate minister of Children and Women’s Issues, said in a release. “We want to make sure that everyone affected by violence and exploitation receive the supports they need, no matter where they are in the province.”
The funding helps fill a gap for more support in rural areas, as services are typically only offered by agencies in bigger cities, the province noted.
“No matter where you live in Southwestern Ontario, if you need help, it should be there for you,” said Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s Labour minister and MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex.
The money is part of the province’s commitment to address challenges for women compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, including a rise in economic insecurity, caregiving responsibilities and domestic violence and human trafficking.
“The pandemic certainly has added a lot of stress,” said Karen Hunter, executive director of Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre that is set to receive $43,000.
“A lot of times, women and children who were victimized by intimate partner violence have not been able to reach out to us during the pandemic. It’s been very difficult for a lot of people, so any support we can get from the government is welcomed.”
Hunter said the grant also will help fund a new full-time position dedicated to housing.
“We knew a little bit before the announcement came out that we were getting it and we’re pretty excited,” she said.
“We went ahead and hired a full-time, transitional support and housing person to work with some most vulnerable people in our population … to try to help them not only find housing, but maintain it.”
The other Southwestestern Ontario grant recipients are:
Atlohsa Family Healing Services: $20,000
Carrefour Des Femmes du Sud-Ouest de l’Ontario (London): $23,000
Chatham-Kent Women’s Centre: $42,889
Hiatus House (Essex): $9,500
Legal Assistance of Windsor: $52,804
London Abused Women’s Centre: $29,506
Réseau femmes (Windsor, London, Sarnia): $20,000
Walpole Island First Nation: $35,865
Women’s Rural Resource Centre: $9,500