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B.C. announces new grants for community safety, crime prevention

The province has unveiled a new grant program from its Crime Forfeiture Office
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced on May 19 that funding towards community safety and crime prevention programs will move forwards, largely coming from seized funds collected from sales of forfeited assets. “Crime should never pay,” Farnworth said. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

B.C. has launched a new funding program for community safety initiatives and social well-being across the province.

Funding through the Civil Forfeiture Grant Program will be spread throughout different areas of British Columbia, the province announced this week.

Grants are now being dispersed, and funds are to be allocated towards crime prevention initiatives, assisting people who experience gender-based violence and supports for Indigenous people whom are recovering from trauma, according to a news release from the B.C. government.

Funding will be available to non-profit groups, organizations, school district and police departments, as well as Indigenous organizations and health authorities.

The funding, earmarked as roughly $9.7 million will include $3.7 million collected from forfeited recoveries as well as $6 million from provincial funding, the province said.

Established in 2006, the Civil Forfeiture Office was created to reallocate tools and proceeds of unlawful activity into programs that would support community safety and crime prevention initiatives. Since then, the program as provided almost $80 million to supporting community organizations across the province.

READ MORE: Unexplained wealth orders to target organized crime, corrupt foreigners in B.C.

This year, grant recipients were awarded amounts ranging from $14,000 up to more than one hundred thousand dollars, with purposes being either region specific or province wide. Among the 100-plus grant recipients are the Vancouver Island Men’s Therapy Centre, an organization that provides counselling services to masculine-identifying youth with priority to members of vulnerable communities. They have been granted $39,736.

Also on the recipients list is the police-victim services of B.C., who received a grant of $100,000 for a province-wide quality assurance program. The program will ensure that baseline training keeps up with new legislation and policy, as well as monitoring if best practices are being followed.

The Indigenous Justice Associated was also granted $30,000 for another province-wide initiative to address the need for more relationship building, as well as widening the scope of individual justice programs that are unique to the needs of each region and community.

This year more than 80 projects will be focused on gender-based violence and domestic violence prevention with funding of $3.4 million, according to B.C. officials.

“With this support, we can create an additional protective layer that will prevent further victimization and trauma for women and children who have experienced abuse,” said Jatiner Bhatti, the executive director of the Tri-City Transitions Society.