Recent History – 2002
April 10, 2002, By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
The South Peace Community Resources Society (SPCRS) has received 120 days notice that the provincial government will no longer fund the violence against women in relationships committee.
The funding paid for a person to work 21 hours a week to co-ordinate about 25 volunteers who ensure that all women, children and men involved in family violence were treated consistently.
“It’s what’s known as a co-ordinated approach to violence in relationships,” said SPCRS manager Jane Harper, who added that the committee also tracks the cases of family violence and the kinds of service that they received.
SPCRS is trying to find ways to keep the program going without the funding. “How we’re going to continue with the team approach we have in place that’s provincially-recognized as being a leader in its field,” Harper said.
In the years that the committee has had provincial funding, Harper said that a lot of work was done to establish a network with police, Crown counsel, service groups, the hospital, and family lawyers.
Without help from Victoria, Harper said that the network will suffer over the long-term. “Information exchanges will break down. It won’t be in the forefront of people’s minds when they’re dealing with a situation of family violence. They won’t have the protocols that are use now as a template in other communities and were developed here.
“Those things will suffer over time but initially we think we can keep some of that co-ordination going. That’s our hope.”
Harper said it was a very cost-effective service because the 21 hours a week generated much more in volunteer hours. The co-ordinator was responsible for such tasks as arranging meetings, getting the minutes out, making sure that volunteers are informed, and tracking protocols.
“The government talks a lot about volunteers but if you don’t have someone there to make the arrangements and keep that ongoing, volunteers quite often lose interest or they move on to doing something else,” Harper said.
Notice was received at the end of the fiscal year, with the contract to end in July but SPCRS will be making changes much sooner.
“We’re going to do some things now in the hopes that we can put some things in place so that it can survive in some way,” Harper said.
The program comes under the woman’s and victim’s service department, managed by Kathy Laforge, and the co-ordinator is Ruth Smith.
It’s the first of what is expected to be a series of funding reductions that SPCRS will have to face as the B.C. Liberals attempt to bring expenditures into line with revenue.
“We don’t know what else we’re going to see as far as cuts, but we’re putting a lot of energy into looking at, if the worst thing happens, how could we continue to provide service to the clients,” Harper said.
“Because the need isn’t going to go away. If anything, it’ll probably get worse with other cuts. People will be further stressed.
“So we just want to make sure we can continue to provide necessary service to the community.”
On the bright side, SPCRS did receive $11,000 from the provincial government, enough to make the Mizpah Transition House start the fiscal year debt-free.