Two dozen organizations will divide $6.4 million from the provincial government to deliver supports and services to victims of crime.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee, of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, says the funding it is receiving will help it create a project aimed at ending all forms of gender-based violence.
"We need to build new ways and initiatives that deal with and confront gender-based violence, while also empowering women, girls and (LGBTTQ+) people," Settee said, after the announcement Thursday.
"It is important that we show leadership by engaging men and boys to take an active part in preventing and eliminating gender-based violence."
The MKO project is called "Indigenous Men and Boys are Part of the Solution to Building Healthy and Safe Communities" and it will be run by the organization's missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls liaison unit.
The three-year project will develop tools for men and boys to help them understand the impact of violence on themselves, but also their victims, family of victims, and community itself.
Other organizations which will receive funding from the government include Ka Ni Kanichihk, Candace House, Manitoba Organization for Victim's Assistance, Resource Assistance for Youth, Western Manitoba Women's Regional Resource Centre, and Société de la francophonie manitobaine.
The government announced the $6.4 million in funding, which includes $850,000 for organizations that support survivors of sexual violence, at the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The money comes from a reallocation of surplus funds from the Victim's Assistance Fund.
Justice Minister Cameron Friesen said the funding is going to Indigenous-led agencies, which are developing projects to address violence against women, girls and LGBTTQ+ people, as well as to community-based organizations creating programs to support victims of crime.
"Our government recognizes the need to provide victims of crime with enhanced supports, and we know that agencies working on the front lines are in the best position to develop the programming needed," said Friesen.
Cathy Cox, minister responsible for the status of women, said the agencies provide important work in the community and was "key to advancing the work of the gender-based violence framework that our government announced in December."
"In developing this framework, we listened to the people working on the front lines to address gender-based violence, as well as those whose lives are impacted by it. Thanks to this work, we know this investment aligns with the priority needs of Manitobans."
Angie Hutchinson, executive director of Survivor's Hope Crisis Centre, said the funding the organization gets will allow it to expand and enhance sexual-assault programming.
"The ability to access supports when an individual life has been impacted by sexual violence is fundamental," said Hutchinson. "(Survivor's Hope will be able to) reach into new areas within our region, ensuring those seeking support after experiencing sexual violence have equitable access to support and healing."
Lori English, West Central Women's Resource Centre's executive director, said: "COVID-19 had a devastating impact on gender-based violence across the country."
"Isolation led to increased violence at a time that access to supports became more complicated. Investments like the ones being made today will allow agencies to respond to the urgent need of women and (LGBTTQ+) folks to support them in both exiting and healing from violence at a very critical time."
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