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‘People are coming forward more’: N.S. opposition calls for stronger investment to address sexual violence

Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill wants the government to provide a long-term financial assistance plan for those who work in the industry.
Nova Scotia NDP Leader Gary Burrill wants the government to provide a long-term financial assistance plan for those who work in the industry. Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press File

An additional investment of $2 million to help prevent domestic violence is a start but far from the answer, says the provincial government’s Opposition.

$3.4 million has been budgeted to address sexual and domestic violence through a number of initiatives, however, the backlash has begun as some say with increasing incidents, the additional funds are long overdue and too little too late.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia’s 2018 budget by the numbers

“People are coming forward more and that’s what we want,” said Interim PC Leader Karla MacFarlane. “So there has to be a larger financial investment.”

MacFarlane’s criticism extends further than the investment amount.

She says that the money pot, though larger, is now also being drawn from a larger pool, effectively meaning a decrease for some organizations.

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“At the end of the day, we see this money being split and we’re hearing from organizations that are losing their funding,” she explained. “It’s the wrong time especially when I stated that our numbers are up, more than Atlantic Canada as a whole.”

NDP Leader Gary Burrill wants to pin the government down to providing a long-term financial assistance plan to provide certainty for those who are working in the industry.

“It’s clear what’s needed, stable multi-year funding,” said Burrill. “Everyone who works in this field speaks about how there are more and more people coming forward with needs, requests.”

“As this matter has become more and more a part of the public discourse, that need is coming forward at a greater and greater extent.”

Included in the budget is an investment of $270,000 to support the recently established Domestic Violence Court in Halifax.

WATCH: Domestic Violence Court opens in Halifax, officials anticipate 1,000 cases annually

Click to play video: 'Domestic violence court opens in Halifax, officials anticipate 1,000 cases annually' Domestic violence court opens in Halifax, officials anticipate 1,000 cases annually
Domestic violence court opens in Halifax, officials anticipate 1,000 cases annually – Feb 28, 2018

It’s one aspect of their strategy that has garnered enthusiasm from those who say it’s strongly needed in the region.

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“Domestic violence is an issue in all of our communities, in everywhere we live, there is domestic violence,” said Claudia Mann, director of Court Services.

Mann said the newly launched court will be a pivotal piece in solving a complex puzzle as domestic violence requires a wide variety of answers.

“It’s a multi-pronged intervention,” said Mann. “It’s not one straight line from incident to stopping domestic violence — it requires a range of interventions.”

Minister of Community Services Kathy Regan indicated announcements detailing upcoming initiatives around eliminating sexual and domestic violence, and assistance for victims will be made in the near future.

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