$177,000 Grant Helped Victim Services of Durham Region to Increase Outreach

Whitby, ON – On Thursday, local MPP Lorne Coe met with the team at Victim Services of Durham Region (VSDR) at the Region of Durham’s offices to hear more about the difference that a $177,000 Resilient Communities Fund grant from the provincial government’s Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) in 2022 has had on its work in the area. The two-year long grant enabled VSDR to provide additional outreach and support to victims of gender-based violence.

“With a grant of $177,000 from the Ontario Government, Victim Services of Durham Region has expanded its outreach and support, ensuring more victims and survivors in Whitby and other parts of the Region of Durham get the services they need where and when they need them,” said Lorne Coe, MPP for Whitby and Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier. “Since 2020, the Government of Ontario has invested over $15.5 million into local police services and victim service support groups in Durham Region and across the Province to better protect our communities.”

As a steering committee member for the Violence Prevention Coordinating Council of Durham and Chair of the Human Trafficking Coalition, VSDR has been at the forefront of provincial advocacy to declare intimate partner violence an epidemic and address gaps in services for all victims of Gender-Based Violence. Over the last two years, the OTF grant has supported the expansion of outreach services for victims at various locations across Durham such as Back Door Mission, Lakeridge Health and the Durham Regional Police Special Victims Unit by helping with staffing and some administrative costs.

“Our agency supported 3500 victims of Gender Based Violence in 2023 with incidents of sexual violence alone growing by more than seven times since 2019,” said Krista MacNeil, Executive Director, Victim Services of Durham Region. “Femicide rates have risen drastically across our country, particularly in Ontario. We must increase our outreach efforts to ensure critical early intervention and prevention supports are accessible to all victims of gender-based violence before it is too late. With this funding, we have supported an additional 600 women since the end of 2022 and will support our capacity to continue this trend to the end of 2024,” added MacNeil.

“Non-profit organizations across Ontario deliver programming that makes a difference,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “That’s why funding that my ministry is providing through the OTF is so important. Our government wants to ensure that these programs and spaces remain the heart of communities across our province.”

For more information about Victim Services of Durham Region and the Teen IRL Empowerment and Prevention Program, please visit www.victimservicesdurham.ca/home

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is an agency of the Ontario government with a mission to build healthy and vibrant communities across the province. Last year, OTF invested more than $110M into 1,044 community projects and multi-sector partnerships. Projects aim to enhance economic well-being, foster more active lifestyles, support child and youth development, provide spaces for people to come together and connect, and create a more sustainable environment. Visit otf.ca to learn more.