Manitoba Government News Release–During the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for crisis hotline services significantly increased across Canada. Crisis hotlines are a lifeline to survivors of gender-based violence and are critical support services.
Today, the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, announced $30 million to support crisis hotlines across Canada. Minister Ien was joined by Manitoba Families Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women, to announce the first bilateral agreement to support crisis hotlines.
Over the next few months, the Government of Canada will work with each province and territory to sign similar bilateral agreements.
This funding will help crisis hotlines serve the urgent needs of Canadians. Crisis hotlines will offer more robust services, resources and support to prevent the escalation of gender-based violence. This announcement builds on the Government of Canada’s commitment to providing approximately $300 million in emergency COVID-19 funding to support individuals experiencing gender-based violence.
To date, over $230 million has been provided to more than 1,300 women’s shelters, sexual assault centres and other organizations. As a result, more than 1.3 million individuals experiencing violence have had a place to go and access to support.
“Calls to crisis centres have significantly spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic. At times, volumes were at capacity. We know that these hotlines are a lifeline for women fleeing domestic violence, as they are a crucial connection to the services that ensure their safety. Today’s historic investment is another step towards supporting survivors and creating a safer Canada for everyone. We are committed to working closely with provincial and territorial governments to prevent, address, and end gender-based violence.”– The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
“Manitoba has some of the highest rates of intimate partner violence and family violence in Canada. This violence primarily affects women and girls, disproportionally affecting those living in rural, remote, and northern communities; Indigenous people; people of colour; and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people. Supporting access for those dealing with gender-based violence through crisis hotlines is an important way to ensure that Manitobans affected can receive critical support services.” – Families Minister Rochelle Squires, minister responsible for the status of women
- Gender-based violence disproportionately affects women and girls. Certain intersectional populations also experience high levels of violence, such as Indigenous women and girls; members of 2SLGBTQQIA+ communities; people with disabilities; and women living in northern, rural, and remote communities.
- Crisis hotlines saw a dramatic surge in calls during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
- Klinic Community Health in Manitoba reported that:
- in 2021, over 38,000 crisis line calls were answered despite a loss of volunteers to support the lines;
- since the beginning of 2022, they have already trained an additional 75 volunteers and have planned more training sessions to be held in the fall; and
- there was a 231 per cent increase in calls to the Sexual Assault Crisis Program between 2020 and 2022.
- Women and Gender Equality Canada: https://women-gender-equality.canada.ca/en.html.
- Gender-Based Violence Knowledge Centre: https://women-gender-equality.canada.ca/en/gender-based-violence-knowledge-centre.html.
- Budget 2021: https://www.budget.gc.ca/2021/report-rapport/p3-en.html#31.