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Alberta sexual assault centres to be consulted on spending additional $10 million

CALGARY — The Alberta government will consult with the province’s sexual assault centres to determine how to spend an additional $10 million over the next three years.

An additional $3 million is being allocated in 2024-25 to support 15 sexual assault centres.

There will be another $3 million in 2025-26 and $4 million in 2026-27.

“Nearly half of Albertans have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. That’s 1.8 million too many,” Family Services Minister Searle Turton told a news conference Tuesday.

“I’ve heard how it impacts every aspect of their well-being and their relationships, not to mention their ability to trust and feel safe.”

Alberta signed a deal last fall to receive $54 million in federal funding to create and implement a 10-year strategy to end gender-based violence. 

The funding, which will be allocated to the province over four years, is part of a national plan to tackle gender-based violence. 

Turton said how the money will be spent will be determined by the sexual assault centres in roundtable discussions in the coming weeks.

“This will allow government to hear directly from centres and those who work with survivors every day how this funding can best address their urgent needs,” he said.

Tanya Fir, Alberta’s minister for the status of women, said the facilities represent “hope and safe havens” where survivors can receive support. 

The news was welcomed by the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services.

Corinne Ofstie, co-chief executive officer, said it will help members respond to the increasingly complex needs of individuals and communities affected by sexual violence.

“It is difficult for survivors to reach out for help in the aftermath of sexual violence,” she said.

“It is critical they receive help in a timely way as close to home as possible.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 30, 2024.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

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