County to give YWCA $25,000
Victim-blaming still a systemic problem, says YWCA director
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | February 16, 2017|
Haliburton County will likely support the YWCA to the tune of $25,000, a Feb. 3 county budget meeting concluded.
Rather than have each municipality respond to the one-time request of $5,000, county councillors agreed it was more appropriate for the county to do that and donate $12,500 in 2017 and 2018.
Jen Cureton, director of philanthropy and communications for the YWCA, had arranged to meet all four townships and the county to ask for the one-time donation after the only shelter for women and their families in the county was closed from November 2015 to March 2016 because of a shortage of money.
“We will deliver that ($25,000) through the county because much of these types of services fall under the county’s mandate and that’s the conduit and more normal place to do it,” County Reeve Brent Devolin told The Highlander Monday.
The Township of Minden Hills pledged $5,000 to be split over two years during a council meeting Jan. 26, but because of the county’s decision to include the $25,000 in its budget instead, Devolin says Minden Hills’ decision will probably be reversed.
“We’re not undoing the resolution until the county formally says yes to its budget, but the minute the county does that then that comes off the table,” he said.
Cureton visited Dysart et al Feb. 9 to ask for the $5,000 and told councillors that the demand for their services last year was very high in Haliburton County.
They helped 124 women last year and responded to 1,209 crisis calls through their 24/7 crisis line, she said, and cited a woman who travelled 12 km with no shoes to reach their shelter.
“The reason we had to close for five months (was) because we were simply out of money,” she said. “Our crisis line was still open and our counselling services continued.”
Cureton added the shelter’s closure wasn’t publicized because they didn’t want to deter women from accessing their other services.
“Whenever we raise money in Haliburton County it stays here,” she said.
Dysart Reeve Murray Fearrey said penalties tied to domestic abuse are often not severe enough, but said he was confused as to why women return to abusive relationships.
“I do get frustrated when a woman is a victim and she decides to go back, I frankly don’t understand that,” he said.
Cureton explained many women in those situations are isolated and live in remote areas where they are unable to have access to a support system.
Sometimes women trade sex for shelter or firewood, and don’t have a way out of the situation, she added.
After the meeting, Cureton said she was pleased with the announcement that the county would be providing them with the one-time $25,000 donation.
“It’s possible that not every municipality would have had the ability to do it, so it’s nice that they (the county) stepped forward,” she said.
According to county CAO Mike Rutter, it is within each municipality’s jurisdiction to provide the Y with additional funding if they so chose to.
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.