“Our region of the province has long been underserved in terms of supports and services for victims of sexual violence, and I'm proud of the historic work our government has done to bring these vital new services to our region," Minister Clark noted during the announcement.
The three-year $687,000 investment will establish new sexual violence support services in Leeds-Grenville. The services will support female victims and survivors of sexual assault through counselling, peer support, advocacy and 24-hour crisis support by phone. The province is also providing up to four hours of free legal advice to survivors of sexual assault.
“Many thanks to Minister Steve Clark for understanding the urgency of the need and championing this initiative at the Cabinet table and all the way to the finish line, Victim Services of Leeds and Grenville for creating an innovative and regionally inclusive model for all 13 municipalities, my colleague Westport Mayor Robin Jones and other Mayors for collaboration at the Counties and, of course, to the Attorney General Doug Downey for making it happen,” said Mayor Nancy Peckford.
“These provincially-funded services have been available nearly everywhere else in Ontario but were never established in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, creating an unacceptable gap for those living in this part of eastern Ontario,” added Mayor Peckford.
“We are incredibly grateful and thankful for this opportunity to establish mobile sexual assault services in the United Counties,” said Sonya Jodoin, Executive Director of Victim Services of Leeds and Grenville.
“This has been many years in the making, and many people have contributed to helping us get here. Special thanks to MPP Steve Clark who has been our biggest advocate and champion for this initiative, and Mayors Nancy Peckford and Robin Jones who contributed to the momentum and reinforced the need with the province. We look forward to launching the service as soon as we can,” added Ms. Jodoin.
According to Victim Services of Leeds & Grenville, Kemptville has a high volume of calls for the size of the population. The calls they receive are often in regards to interpersonal violence, historical sex abuse, spousal, child and elder abuse.
“It’s an unfortunate reality that sexual violence remains a reality, and it is important that those impacted have access to support and healing in their own community,” added Mayor Peckford.
In April 2020, the Municipality of North Grenville announced it will provide $32,000 annually to Victim Services of Leeds and Grenville to offer enhanced local community support.
To access supports or to learn more about the services available through Victim Services of Leeds & Grenville, visit www.vslg.ca or call 1-800-939-7682.
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