Government taking action to protect communities against hate, violence

November 15, 2023 at 2:20 pm  BC, News, Politics

The Province is taking action against hate-motivated violence in British Columbia by supporting community organizations throughout the province and by providing resources to individuals.

The Province will be offering a specific anti-hate community support fund for organizations impacted by acts of hate including vandalism, while rolling out the racist incident helpline, which will help strategically target further government resources to combat hate.

“We must stand together against a deeply troubling increase in acts of hate in our province,” said Premier David Eby. “No one here should live in fear because of who they are and no one here should be targeted because of the war in the Middle East. Our government is taking action to keep people safe and protect the places that provide comfort and connection for so many of us.”

The new anti-hate community support fund will be provided to organizations such as places of worship, cultural community centres and at-risk groups, including the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, for security equipment, graffiti removal and repairs to damaged property as part of community efforts to respond to hate-motivated crimes.

“Standing up to hate-motivated incidents and intimidation is always the first action and response by government when intolerance raises its ugly head in our province,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “That’s why we are supporting community organizations to enhance security measures and helping them with the costs of repairing physical damages when crimes like these are inflicted on the community.”

Eligible organizations will be able to apply for up to $10,000 in funding from the anti-hate community support fund. Information on how organizations can apply will be available when the grant program launches Nov. 28, 2023. This funding is made available through the safer communities grants through the civil forfeiture grant program, which uses proceeds from unlawful activity and redirects it back to communities. 

The racist incident helpline will be a trauma-informed multilingual service provided through BC211. It will offer a culturally safe platform for witnesses or victims of hate to report an incident when they may not feel comfortable contacting the police. The government will use anonymized data from the racist incident helpline and the B.C. Demographic Survey to  inform where and how to deploy additional targeted resources to combat racism.

“Our communities are suffering due to a major spike in racism and hate being felt around the world,” said Niki Sharma, Attorney General. “This is the time when we need to come together as a province to take action against hate. This helpline, developed in collaboration with community organizations, is trauma informed and is one of the actions we are taking to address hate and support those who have been directly affected.”

Additionally, the Ministry of Attorney General will continue to strengthen community support programs, which will enable the helpline to refer individuals for further support, including counselling services.

This work complements existing programming under the Ministry of Attorney General. Through government’s Safer Communities Action Plan and the Resilience B.C. Anti-Racism Network, the Province is enhancing support services and empowering more people to act against hate incidents wherever and whenever they happen.

“Hate, in all its forms, should be denounced by every British Columbian,” said June Francis, chair of the Anti-Racism Data Act Committee. “The racist incident helpline is one more tool in our fight against systems of oppression and hate, and the data collected from reporting will better inform government response to providing safety and supports to targeted communities.”

Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives said: “These new supports are welcome news for people throughout B.C. We need to speak up and speak out against racism and hate. We need to let those who suffer from this hate know they are not alone.”

Learn More:

To learn about the Safer Communities Plan, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/safer-communities

Information about Safer Communities Grants will be available online starting Nov. 28, 2023.

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