March 25, 2016 3:09 pm

Grants combat crime and violence against women in the central Okanagan

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KELOWNA — Okanagan groups are some of the recipients of funding from the province aimed at helping community organizations working to protect vulnerable young people from gang involvement and to protect victims of domestic, sexual and other forms of violence.

The groups in the valley will get $239,000 in government grants which is part of an approximately $7.2-million province-wide investment.

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According to the province, it’s the largest-ever one-time grants investment in community crime prevention in B.C., combining $5.5-million in provincial Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) proceeds and $1.69-million from criminal forfeiture proceeds.

“Crime should not pay. This year marks a decade of civil forfeiture in B.C. and 10 years of giving back to the community,” said MLA for Kelowna-Mission, Steve Thomson in a news release.

“These funds will support these organizations and the meaningful work they are doing to address violence and keep people safe.”

In Kelowna, the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs will get $100,000 for the Elevate: Skills Building for At-Risk Youth project.

The Central Okanagan Elizabeth Fry Society will get $70,000 for the Kelowna Highest Risk Domestic Violence Unit and $40,000 for the Okanagan Child and Youth Advocacy Centre.

Okanagan College will get $29,234 for a sexual violence safety awareness project.

“The CFO is doing what it is designed to do: taking away the tools and proceeds of crime, and putting them back into programs that support community crime prevention and safety,” said MLA for Kelowna-Lake Country, Norm Letnick, in a news release.

In total, more than 250 projects and programs throughout B.C. will get a one-time grant, according to the province.

It says about $2-million is dedicated to gang and youth crime prevention and more than $3.5-million will go to community services that address violence against women and girls.

The province says this year a new stream of civil forfeiture grants is dedicated to programs focused on sexual assault, including responses to sexual assault on post-secondary campuses.

This builds on the province’s Vision for a Violence Free B.C., a long-term strategy to end all forms of violence against women.

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