A serious societal problem is getting some significant attention at the community level in Nova Scotia.
The province has handed out grants to 24 community organizations in the province with the goal of preventing domestic violence while also supporting victims and their families.
Domestic violence has happened to many Nova Scotians and can occur in any relationship.
Over the next few years, the government of Nova Scotia says it will work with community organizations to try and build a provincial plan to help break the cycle of domestic violence through their Standing Together to Prevent Domestic Violence action plan.
Kelly Regan, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Community Services, says the province wants to touch base in all the areas domestic violence affects.
“The projects are divided up in a number of different areas, so some focus on youth, some focus on women and some focus on men, because quite frankly, men are the majority of the perpetrators in this case,” Regan said.
Some of the grants to community organizations will be used for projects to test and develop new ideas for preventing domestic violence.
Other grants are aimed to increase awareness of the problem and to encourage communities to get involved.
One Nova Scotia teacher is excited to be able to host the second annual Boys Day for students in grades four to six.
Kristy Boutilier, a teacher at Petite Rivière Elementary School, developed the project last year to help boys develop confidence and make healthy connections.
“We’re going to have things on healthy relationships and consent we’re [going to] have a workshop on the LGBTQ community. We’re [going to] have a survival workshop,” said Boutilier.
Boutilier says the grant will allow them to extend the invitation to four other schools that will now be joining in on Boy Day.
The two grants were the Standing Together Domestic Violence Prevention Grants and the Standing Together Domestic Violence Shift Grant. In the first, organizations would receive up to $10,000 dollars for a one-year program creating awareness. The second provides up to $75,000 for a two-year program to help organizations explore, develop and test new and innovative ideas for preventing domestic violence and supporting victims and their families.
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The YWCA in Halifax says they’ve received $75,000 to invest in existing programs and gather women’s stories for policy change.
“YWCA’s project is called My Voice Matters and it’s two years, where we want to leverage our existing microloan program for women fleeing violence to provide ongoing, continuous community-based support,” said Miia Suokonautio, the organization’s executive director.
The Membertou Society for Men also received $75,000 to provide resources through their Engaging Mi’kmaq Men and Boys to End Domestic Violence program.
“When the men are able to find that love and support they need within the group, then they’re able to take that home with them and they’re able to love their spouse their children so basically it makes for a better family,” said Ryan Gould, president of the Membertou Society for Men.
The information collected for the programs will be used to develop an action plan for the province to better address and prevent domestic violence in the future.