VICTORIA— At a time in women’s lives when they need the most support, Christy Clark’s government has made it harder for women hurt by violence, say New Democrats.
“After 16 years of Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberals, women and children who have suffered violence are waiting too long for help,” said New Democrat Leader John Horgan.
“When women reach out for help because they have been victimized by violence, they shouldn’t have to wait weeks, months or years for counselling and support.
“Women shouldn’t have to endure emotional, sexual and physical violence for fear of losing the roof over their heads. But that’s happening when women can’t afford to leave a dangerous situation.”
Each year more than 30,000 women and children affected by domestic violence in B.C. come forward for help.
Sexual violence is known to affect 1/3 of all women and girls at some point in life, with the largest demographic being young women between the ages of 14 and 24.
In the face of these ever increasing rates of sexual assault, the only thing Christy Clark’s government has done is cut the funding to all of BC’s sexual assault centres.
“The Christy Clark government is failing women,” said Horgan. “The rates of violence against women in BC is high and going up. That’s just wrong. Women and their children should be safer and more secure.”
Horgan committed to making things better for survivors of sexual violence and for those fleeing abusive homes by making sure crime prevention dollars go to deliver much-needed services that keep more women safe, improving public policy, directing more funding to provincial and community based programs that directly serve women and children, and increasing funding to violence prevention and intervention programs by $8 million a year.
“It’s important to make sure all public policies achieve the goal of ensuring women have the support they need. We’ll make that a priority,” said Horgan.
“After years of neglect, it’s time for a restart – to choose safety over inaction, and to provide support in communities so that women and children across B.C. are safer,” said Jodie Wickens, New Democrat MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.
“Women and children turn to community anti violence programs and transition houses to escape violence. But they face an uphill battle to get the services they need to restart their lives.
“And like other women, survivors of violence are faced with an economy that has become harder for ordinary people.
“They are struggling to support children in a school system Christy Clark tore down, struggling to support their parents at a time when Liberals have left 9 in 10 residential care facilities understaffed, and struggling to make ends meet when we have the slowest wage growth in the country and the highest cost of living.
“People who work to stop violence agree: women need better paying jobs, more affordable housing and child care, so they can keep themselves and their children safe and secure.
“Women, especially survivors of violence, have been abandoned by Christy Clark and the Liberals. The BC NDP will do better.
“Women deserve a government that is working for them, not just the wealthy and the well connected.”
Read the Anti-Violence Policy backgrounder here.