The provincial government made a lot of money off of busting unsuccessful criminals this year, and they’re giving it back to the community organizations that do their share to safeguard vulnerable young people from gang involvement and protect victims of domestic, sexual and other forms of violence.
“Our government believes that crime should not pay. After 10 years, civil forfeiture continues to be an invaluable tool to law enforcement in suppressing gangs and criminal activity, allowing government to take away the proceeds of crime and put that money back into ensuring safe communities,” said Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
“All of this year’s grant recipients are doing meaningful work by keeping our kids out of gangs, addressing violence against women and girls, supporting restorative justice and healing for Aboriginal communities, and making our province safer and more supportive for us all.”
More than $7 million from the proceeds of civil and criminal forfeiture will be directed to over 250 projects and programs in BC. Locally, that means the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, Okanagan College and the Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society will see their programs boosted.
The Okanagan Boys and Girls Club got $100,000 for their program “Elevate: Skills Building for At-Risk Youth.” The project will provide at-risk youth in Kelowna and West Kelowna with safe and welcoming spaces; facilitate reintegration into the school system, offer pre-employment training and assistance to secure appropriate employment; assist youth to develop life and leadership skills; and provide recreational activities.
Youth will be offered mentoring from positive peer and adult role models in the local community.
Okanagan College’s Safety Awareness Project received $29,234.This project builds upon a recent awareness campaign on Okanagan College’s newly developed sexual violence policy and protocol. Funding will support programs such as bystander awareness training for students, faculty and employees, the development of a student-run public awareness campaign on sexual consent, and the piloting and evaluation of self-defense workshops.
The project activities will take place on all four Okanagan College campuses.
The Elizabeth Fry Society received two grants. Their Okanagan Child and Youth Advocacy Centre is the recipient of $40,000. The centre is a safe, accessible, collaborative service that offers care for Okanagan children and youth who have experienced abuse as well as their caregivers. The project will provide direct service to victims and their families in the Kelowna area and also support accompaniment of families to the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) clinic in Kamloops.
The project will also support the ongoing work of the Okanagan Child and Youth Advocacy Centre to integrate health, justice, and social services in a central location in Kelowna.
The society’s Highest Risk Domestic Violence Unit will receive $70,000.
The unit is comprised of a RCMP DV Officer, Community Based Victim Services and a Child Protection Worker from the Ministry of Child and Family Development. Funding will be used to enhance the capacity of the community-based victim service worker.