TORONTO — Ontario’s Liberal government will provide $1.1 million a year for the next three years to support hospital-based sexual assault and domestic violence treatment centres.
Premier Kathleen Wynne says most of the money will go to improving existing counselling services, but $200,000 a year will be used for a province-wide community outreach program.
Wynne says the goal is to not only reduce the number of sexual assaults but to also increase the number of incidents that are reported to police.
She says there are an average of 1,000 sexual assaults a day across Canada, but only 33 of those are reported to police.
Wynne says many women do not feel safe in Ontario, and too many report being harassed or subjected to sexually charged talk at work.
The counselling centres at hospitals are part of the province’s action plan to stop sexual violence announced last March, with $41 million in funding over three years, called ‘It’s Never Okay.’
“‘It’s Never Okay’ is about raising public awareness and starting conversations about challenging issues like rape culture, consent and gender inequality,” Wynne said as she announced the funding Friday at the Scarborough Hospital.
“It’s about helping more survivors feel safe about coming forward and better supporting them when they do.”