The Vernon Women’s Transition House Society is getting grant money from the provincial government for two of its programs.
Fifty thousand dollars is going to the Society’s Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre.
Oak Centre serves children and youth that have been abused or sexually assaulted or witnessed or experienced another crime.
They can come into the Centre and be interviewed by police and social workers there
They are then attached to a victim’s service worker who can help them through the process of whatever they might be experiencing and make sure they get the services they need for their trauma.
Community Programs Manager Brooke McLardy says it`s going to help expand some of their services for children by increasing some staff hours.
“We will have a child and youth advocate on site as well as a coordinator for the program. And we`ll also be hiring an indigenous child and youth advocate to help navigate services for that population.”
That’s a new position and the Society has been working with the Okanagan Indian Band on what that position can look like.
Brooke says they`re looking forward to helping indigenous youth living off reserve and might need some extra support.
The Centre is a complete child-friendly environment with everything adapted to meet children`s needs.
It`s all about supporting the child and their family.
“We are starting to expand and making sure that we’re trying to capture all children that are victims of crime, not just abuse and sexual assault. I don`t know that it’s increasing so much as we’re just making sure that we’re capturing every kid that has experienced something like that.”
In the two and a half years Oak Centre has been opened, it has served just about 400 children and youth.
The Society also received a grant of almost 26 thousand 700 dollars for its sexual assault services.
“So this will make sure that we have trained sexual assault nurse examiners in place, that we always have someone available 24/7 in case someone is sexually assaulted and needs to go to the hospital, that we have victim’s support available.”
It will also help with programs to get into schools and talk about awareness and prevention of sexual assault.
Brooke McLardy adds the funds will also help get into the outreach area which it hasn’t been able to do consistently in the past.