It was a steal of a deal.
The Northern Society for Domestic Peace (NSDP) recently learned it was approved for over $130,000 in grants under B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Crime Prevention and Crime Remediation Grant Program.
The initiative invests profits from illegal activity into programs that “support crime prevention and remediation-related projects.”
Executive director for the NSDP Carol Seychuk says the money will be used to enhance various supportive and therapeutic services in the area.
She adds that the grants will help the NSDP provide more consistent service to the region, especially in areas with small populations.
“So often [support workers] come into communities and then go out … and it’s hard to have a the ability to actually accomplish something,” Seychuk said in an interview with The Interior News.
Of the funding, $75,000 was set aside to the Women’s Safety Outreach Response Initiative.
The program looks to improve women’s safety in Smithers and Hazelton while simultaneously decreasing criminal activity by offering support services to help divert police resources.
This includes a trauma therapist that will provide support in mental health, addictions treatment and crisis response scenarios.
The NSDP also received two additional grants of around $30,000 for a weekly support group titled Partnerships Against Sexual Violence and their MMIWG Family Gatherings Project, a retreat offering therapeutic services to those impacted by the national enquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“We’ve lost too many young women in our community over the last several years [and this is] an opportunity for the families to get together and … talk about what that experience was like,” Seychuk said.
She adds that although she is not ecstatic about the money coming from criminal activity, she is happy the funds will be rerouted to services that benefit local people.
“It’s too bad that it has to come from [criminal activity] but I think it’s one way of doing something in the communities that is good … it makes sense that it goes to creating crime prevention programs,” she said.
The Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Society in Smithers also received $30,000 for its Holistic Health Pilot Project, which offers therapeutic services to those experiencing trauma.
The NSDP was formally incorporated in 1993.
A mission statement for the organization says it is committed to “developing, delivering and supporting programs that provide opportunities for individuals and families to strengthen their relationships and the quality of their lives by fostering respect, challenging violence and promoting health and self determination.”