Feds put up money to help crime victims

eedition.toronto.24hrs.ca  – news
15 Aug 2013.   Maryam Shahqmi, QMI Agency

The pilot project — running out of Toronto Police’s 41 Division and two other locations in the city’s east end for the past few months — will receive $249,127 over three years to help victims access a “very complex, very intimidating, often very foreign system,” Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay said Wednesday.

The funds will be used to keep two victim advocates working alongside domestic violence investigators in order to better connect victims with counselling, case management and support.

The money will also help provide transportation and child-care services, and pay for a consultant to evaluate the effectiveness of the project.

MacKay pointed out that Statistics Canada’s latest figures show almost 95,000 people nationwide were victimized by domestic assault in 2011.

“And these are just the ones that we know about,” he said.

Bonnie Levine, of Victim Services Toronto, said anecdotal reports from Toronto Police officers already show “early signs of cost savings” as victims — who sometimes don’t speak or understand English — get quicker access to services such as i mmigration, employment and legal aid.

Manoeuvring through “highly sophisticated” systems is more difficult when one is traumatized, Levine said.

“On top of the trauma, when you add limited or no ability to communicate in English, poverty, social isolation, gender and racial barriers, it is a recipe for disaster,” she said.

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