For immediate release – February 19, 2020

Vancouver, B.C. –On Tuesday, February 18, 2020 the British Columbia provincial government announced the 2020 BC Budget. This year’s budget takes important steps, however, leaves disappointing gaps in services that will disproportionately affect women and their children.

“With poverty disproportionately affecting women and their children”, says Angela Marie MacDougall, BWSS Executive Director. “This budget fails to include a gendered analysis and is missing key investments towards equity”.

The budget announcement features $13 million over three years to the Crime Victims Assistance Program, however, it is uncertain how these funds will be distributed. What portion will go to violence prevention and intervention and the work to end gender-based violence? 4 out of 5 (81%) of people served through Victim Services in BC are women. With women making up the largest portion we anticipated that the budget would provide a clearer picture of how these funds would be allocated in support of women survivors of violence.

“BWSS responds to 18,000 requests for services annually”, says MacDougall. “Some of the biggest challenges for women to leave abusive relationships include access to safe and affordable housing, access to child care and legal aid, income assistance and employment services. It was our hope that this years’ BC budget would address these systemic and institutional factors impeding women’s equity in BC”.

“We applaud the attention the BC government has paid to addressing Legal Aid through dedicating $57 million over three years for legal aid services”, says Mayra Albuquerque, BWSS Legal Advocate. “However, we note that the budget will not go towards reducing some of the barriers for women who apply for legal aid.  It is unclear what investment, if any, would be made toward increasing legal aid particularly for women self-representing in family law situations”.

Last fall, the BC legislature passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which was developed in collaboration with the First Nations Leadership Council and in June 2019 the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was released. Nonetheless, the 2020 budget does little to address either of these major points of accountability that could have been taken for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Sprit people. “With clear issues of human rights and Indigenous sovereignty issues in Wet’suwet’en territory”, says Summer-Rain, Manager of the Indigenous Women’s Program at BWSS. “We are disappointed there was not a stronger focus in the budget supporting Indigenous Women and human rights”.

For 40 years, Battered Women’s Support Services has worked towards women’s liberation through education, advocacy, support services, and systemic change to assist all women in its aim to work towards the elimination of violence. BWSS is hopeful with these recent announcements and seeks to work closely with the provincial government to further women’s equity in BC.

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Media inquiries:

Angela Marie MacDougall
Executive Director
Cell: 604-808-0507
Email: director@bwss.org

 

 

 

Vancouver, B.C. –On Tuesday, February 18, 2020 the British Columbia provincial government announced the 2020 BC Budget. This year’s budget takes important steps, however, leaves disappointing gaps in services that will disproportionately affect women and their children.

 

“With poverty disproportionately affecting women and their children”, says Angela Marie MacDougall, BWSS Executive Director. “This budget fails to include a gendered analysis and is missing key investments towards equity”.

 

The budget announcement features $13 million over three years to the Crime Victims Assistance Program, however, it is uncertain how these funds will be distributed. What portion will go to violence prevention and intervention and the work to end gender-based violence? 4 out of 5 (81%) of people served through Victim Services in BC are women. With women making up the largest portion we anticipated that the budget would provide a clearer picture of how these funds would be allocated in support of women survivors of violence.

 

“BWSS responds to 18,000 requests for services annually”, says MacDougall. “Some of the biggest challenges for women to leave abusive relationships include access to safe and affordable housing, access to child care and legal aid, income assistance and employment services. It was our hope that this years’ BC budget would address these systemic and institutional factors impeding women’s equity in BC”.

 

“We applaud the attention the BC government has paid to addressing Legal Aid through dedicating $57 million over three years for legal aid services”, says Mayra Albuquerque, BWSS Legal Advocate. “However, we note that the budget will not go towards reducing some of the barriers for women who apply for legal aid.  It is unclear what investment, if any, would be made toward increasing legal aid particularly for women self-representing in family law situations”.

 

Last fall, the BC legislature passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which was developed in collaboration with the First Nations Leadership Council and in June 2019 the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was released. Nonetheless, the 2020 budget does little to address either of these major points of accountability that could have been taken for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Sprit people. “With clear issues of human rights and Indigenous sovereignty issues in Wet’suwet’en territory”, says Summer-Rain, Manager of the Indigenous Women’s Program at BWSS. “We are disappointed there was not a stronger focus in the budget supporting Indigenous Women and human rights”.

 

For 40 years, Battered Women’s Support Services has worked towards women’s liberation through education, advocacy, support services, and systemic change to assist all women in its aim to work towards the elimination of violence. BWSS is hopeful with these recent announcements and seeks to work closely with the provincial government to further women’s equity in BC.

 

 

Media inquiries:

Angela Marie MacDougall
Executive Director
Cell: 604-808-0507
Email: director@bwss.org

 

 

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