During times of zero budget hikes or even cutbacks, one group got a pleasant surprise today. The provincial government has announced a 22 per cent hike in funding for sexual assault centres in the province.
The announcement was made by Russ Marchuk on behalf of Saskatchewan Justice.
Marchuk says it is about keeping children safe, protected and recognizing the need to do more for groups that work with victims of sexual abuse. Six organizations will receive a total of $1.2 million in funding this year.
He says it will allow them to continue to work on behalf of victims and even expand their services.
"Anything that we can to insure that well-being and safety of our citizens is paramount to government, so the decision was really quite easy," he says. " Education, awareness and support, as you heard this morning, are the three keys to sexual violence awareness and we are very proud to be able to support that."
Debbie House is the administrator for the Regina Sexual Assault Centre. She can't remember the last time she saw this kind of funding increase.
"So to get core funding for existing programs, I have never heard of that," she says. "I have been here for 25 years and it has never happened since I have been here. So this is huge for us. We have an existing program that the Ministry of Justice has recognized is a really terrific, worthwhile program -- our Kids on the Block program."
That program is aimed at education children about sexual abuse. It is estimated that one in three girls and one in five boys will be a victim of sexual abuse -- and in 70 per cent of the cases, they will be abused by someone they know.
The increase in provincial funding will go to sexual assault centres in the Battlefords, Lloydminister, Regina, Saskatoon, Yorkton and Prince Albert.