NOTE: A list of Prevention Innovation Grant recipients follows this release.
Twenty-four community groups from across Nova Scotia are receiving more than $630,000 in Prevention Innovation Grants through the province’s Sexual Violence Strategy.
Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard announced the recipients today, April 24, in Annapolis Royal.
“Once again, so many Nova Scotians are coming forward to raise awareness and help prevent sexual violence,” said Ms. Bernard. “I applaud the grant recipients for using their creativity and passion to put their ideas into practice, and in many cases with projects that engage young people.”
The grants support community groups and organizations, including youth and underserved populations such as African Nova Scotians, First Nations and the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community, to reach out to their peers in innovative ways.
“In Fall 2016, LOVE started offering a bi-weekly sweat lodge ceremony in Sipekne’katik, which has received a high level of engagement from youth,” said Sarah MacLaren, executive director, Leave Out Violence Nova Scotia. “With this grant we will be able to build a new teepee on the same property as the sweat lodge to help create a pro-social network made up of positive peer support and intergenerational mentorship with Elders. The teepee will give us a sober and safe place to gather and will help build a connection to a traditional means of well-being.”
This is the second round of Prevention Innovation grants given out through the strategy. In 2015/2016, $650,000 was awarded, for a total investment of more than $1.2 million over two years.
The province also launched a new online training course that is available free of charge for Nova Scotians to learn more about sexual violence, how to respond to a disclosure of sexual violence and how to support someone who has survived it.
Supporting Survivors of Sexual Violence: A Nova Scotia Resource is for service providers, friends, family members, neighbours, teachers, first responders, counselors, and anyone who is acting as a support person, or is concerned about sexual violence.
“Thanks to the expertise and unwavering passion of a committee of people from communities across the province, Nova Scotians can access a resource to help them handle a very difficult subject that needs to be addressed,” said Ms. Bernard.
The training has six separate topics, including an introduction to sexual violence, responding to a disclosure, choices following sexual violence, exploring sexual consent, enhancing the well-being of support people and Indigenous perspectives.
The training is available at nscs.learnridge.com.
Since development of the Sexual Violence Strategy began three years ago, the province has:
— established Community Support Networks across the province to enhance service co-ordination and increase accessibility, visibility and navigation. A total of $2.5 million was invested to support their work
— provided training on trauma-informed practices specific to sexual violence and support to 811 and 211 staff in fall 2015 and will again for 811 staff in winter 2017
— engaged with the Mi’kmaq community to provide opportunity for Indigenous service providers and community leaders to address the unique needs of their communities. A similar process is about to begin with African Nova Scotian communities
— launched a public awareness campaign on sexual violence last fall. The campaign includes videos, posters and a website www.breakthesilenceNS.ca
— supported a student forum last fall that brought together student leaders from across Nova Scotia to focus on creating consent cultures on campus and engaging youth in preventing sexualized violence
— established an inter-departmental committee that conducted an inventory and analysis of policies and programs relevant to sexual violence that support prevention and support services across various departments, as well as the Status of Women and the Public Prosecution Service.
More information on the sexual violence strategy can be found at novascotia.ca/coms/svs.