The Alberta government is pledging $8.1 million to support survivors of sexual violence in the province. The money will go to various branches of care affiliated with Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS), who will use the money for ongoing funding of front-line services, including expanding crisis response and greater use of specialized police and court support workers.

The Dragonfly Counselling and Support Centre in Bonnyville is one such resource for victims of sexual violence. Cheryl Bujold is the Executive Director of the centre. She says having the problem recognized by the government is fantastic.

“We just feel like this is a complete win for anyone that has been harmed by sexual violence. This has been a long time in the making, and we want to thank the Alberta government for recognizing that sexual violence is a societal issue that all of our communities have been dealing with for a long time.”

The funding adds to the almost $44 million the government has invested since 2015 to support programs and services to prevent sexual violence and support survivors in communities across Alberta.

Bujold says the funding will be instrumental in helping the community.

“It’ll be used for improving our outreach services, to reach people who are experiencing barriers. Our Dragonfly services and support will also be expanded. This money will also go towards preventative education and information to help us get ahead of the issue. ”

Sexual violence refers to any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. Its also one of the most under-reported crimes in Canada. Of reported cases, 87 per cent of victims are women and 94 per cent of assailants are men.