$1 million cut to rape crisis funding a ‘callous place to pinch pennies’

Last year, the provincial government announced stopgap funding to help shorten wait times for victims of sexual violence to speak to counsellors. The Guelph-Wellington Women In Crisis executive director says she is disappointed in the government’s decision to not renew that funding after April 1.

The $1-million in extra funding was being split between 42 rape crisis centres across the province, said Sly Castaldi, executive director of GWWIC.

“It’s really incredibly disappointing,” said Castaldi by phone on Wednesday. “It wasn’t a huge investment — one million dollars divided by 42, do the math — but it was helpful to try and take some pressure off the wait times.”

Castaldi said the funding was put in place to deal with an increase in demand for services as a result of the fallout from the #MeToo movement.

“This creates an environment where more survivors feel like they might be able to come forward — or at least be able to tell somebody,” said Castaldi. “Sexual assault centres around Ontario were experiencing a huge increase in the demand for service, so the PC government responded by giving a million dollars in one-time funding to help alleviate the wait list crisis.”

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