Nova Scotia law enforcement agencies and community organizations will soon have access to additional funding to reduce crime and gun violence.
The province will receive $4.7 million over five years from Public Safety Canada through the federal Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund.
Nova Scotia will direct the federal investments toward the development of a gun and gang violence strategy, improving intelligence gathering, and enhancing training for police officers and Crown attorneys. These investments will occur over the duration of the agreement.
“Guns and gang violence have no place in our communities,” said Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mark Furey. “This funding will help us strengthen our efforts to prevent, disrupt and combat gun and gang violence in Nova Scotia.”
In 2017, almost 40 per cent of Nova Scotia homicides were gun related. And, over the last seven years there have been 42 cases involving gang activity and organized crime.
“One of the most successful ways to combat gun and gang violence is to develop initiatives that address the underlying causes of violence at the community level,” said Bill Blair, federal Minister of Border Services and Organized Crime Reduction. “The Government of Canada is pleased to partner with Nova Scotia to help fund important local initiatives that will serve the needs of vulnerable populations.”
Investments will also support prevention and intervention initiatives, including:
— a community mobilization project to respond to violent or traumatic incidents and increase community resilience
— supports to help Indigenous people awaiting trial navigate the criminal court process and access social networks and programs
— development of individualized needs-based responses for survivors of human trafficking and exploitation
“The commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking of youth is an issue that affects families in communities across Nova Scotia” said Charlene Gagnon, advocacy and research manager with the YWCA Halifax. “The Safe Spaces project will enable us to help meet the needs of these youth and produce meaningful data and research to inform us all as we move forward.”
Funding for the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre will support the delivery of life and employability skills and legal supports to help Indigenous women and men reconnect with their communities and stay out of the criminal justice system.
“This funding will allow for an expansion of services and interventions to successfully reintegrate Indigenous clients back into the community and away from guns or gang activity,” said Scott Lekas, director of the Seven Sparks Justice Program. “Culturally relevant interventions are paramount to our clients’ success, including Elder services, access to sweat lodge ceremonies, smudging, medicine collection and other cultural activities and ceremony.”
Source : Media Release