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Feds seek programs to protect women

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OTTAWA -- The federal government is seeking help to deliver new programs to help end violence against women, including human trafficking and honour killings.

Rona Ambrose, Canada's national status of women minister, issued a call for proposals Monday for four different programs. She said it is part of the annual call for proposals for programs to coincide with three events throughout the fall addressing the issue of violence against women. The events are International Human Rights Day on Dec. 10, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on Nov. 25, and 16 days of Activism against Gender Violence, which connects the two.

"What's different this time is we are targeting four specific areas," said Ambrose.

The four areas are violence against women in high-risk neighbourhoods, engaging men and boys to combat violence against women, helping women at risk of or who have been victims of honour crimes, and human trafficking.

Ambrose said by targeting the call for proposals more specifically, her department has found it gets better programs and gets the attention of organizations that wouldn't otherwise look at applying.

She said, for example, municipalities running neighbourhood safety audits could apply for funding to help end violence against women in high-risk neighbourhoods.

Successful applicants will receive as much as $300,000 to carry out the plan, depending on the type and scope of their proposal, but Ambrose said Monday there is room to increase the amount of funding.

"If there is a really great project that is more than that, we can be flexible," she said.

The funding for the four programs will run for up to two years and the programs are intended to be carried out at the community level.

These programs are separate and distinct from the federal government's work on the Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women file, which is run by the Department of Justice.

Claudette Dumont Smith, executive director of the Native Women's Association of Canada, said she hadn't had time yet to study the four program areas in depth but was happy to know the organization's regional offices would be eligible to apply for the funding.

"I'm glad they put it out," she said.

The call for proposals came the same day as the Native Women's Association finalized 110 locations for the annual Sisters in Spirit vigils across the country. The vigils are held each October to remember aboriginal women who are missing or have been murdered. They began in 2006.

This year's vigils will take place Oct. 4. In Manitoba, there will be six vigils -- two in Brandon and one each in Thompson, Portage la Prairie, Pipestone and Winnipeg.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 11, 2012 A4

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