Sexual assault is an issue that has the potential to affect us all.
Last year however, the Ford government cut the annual funding for the Peel Region’s designated Sexual Assault Center: Hope 24/7.
In response to this, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie wrote a joint letter to the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General requesting that the annual funding be restored to the full amount.
According to the letter, Hope 24/7 serves a population of 1.4 million people and is the only accredited SAC in Ontario. In July 2018, Hope 24/7 was told that it’s annual funding was going to be cut by $125,000 per year. The agency was previously receiving $584,373 per year.
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The letter states that even though the government restored $52,183 in April 2019, that funding is one-time only and does not address the significant need for the service the Agency provides in the Peel Region.
“Last week, Mayor Patrick Brown and I issued a joint letter to the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General in support of Hope 24/7’s request that it’s much-needed funding from the province be fully restored to its original annual allocation,” said Mayor Crombie. “Hope 24/7 is the only accredited sexual assault centre for the Region of Peel and provides invaluable supports and services to survivors of relationship and sexual violence in our City. This organization also helps curb violence and unhealthy behaviours that can lead to sexual assault through prevention programming.”
In the letter, Crombie and Brown say “sexual violence is a public health emergency, with 1 in 3 females and 1 in 5 males experiencing it at least once in their lifetimes.”
This fact alone shows just how much the services provided by Hope 24/7 matter. According to the letter it is also the only centre using regulated health professionals in compliance with the Psychotherapy Act, and has assisted over 22,000 residents since 2013.
“Ensuring that victims of sexual abuse have access to the services and supports they need to move from cope to hope is not a want, it’s an absolute need,” said Mayor Crombie. “Year over year, Hope 24/7 has been consistently underfunded when benchmarked against similar centres across the province.”
The letter states that Hope 24/7 only receives $0.34 per capita to operate, while average SAC funding is $9.91 per capita. It goes on to state over 70% of all SACs receive at least $1.00 per capita to operate. Hope 24/7 is the second lowest funded SAC per capita in Ontario.
“Hope 24/7 needs more funding, not less,” said Mayor Crombie. “Funding that is consistent, stable and predictable. These cuts will hurt this organization’s ability to serve its clients in the long-term, and I strongly urge the government to reconsider its decision.”