The Nova Scotia government creates Prevention Innovation Grants to help prevent sexual violence

Minister of Community Services Joanne Bernard announces the government is funding up to $1.2 million into the new grant program.

Minister of Community Services Joanne Bernard announcing Prevention Innovation grants, Halifax N.S.
Minister of Community Services Joanne Bernard announcing Prevention Innovation Grants, Halifax N.S.   Molly Woodgate

The provincial government has announced new grants to give community groups the power to help prevent sexual violence.

Joanne Bernard, the minister of community services, announced the creation of the new Prevention Innovation Grants on Monday, Nov. 23 at the Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road.

The grants will be available over the next two years, with up to $1.2 million in funding. There are two separate streams of grants community groups can apply for: one with grants up to $5,000 and the other up to $50,000.

The grant program is part of the provincial government’s Sexual Violence Strategy, which is working to create better policies on the delivery of prevention and support services.

Bernard said the grants are meant to help with the prevention of sexual violence in Nova Scotia, and are available to community groups or organizations that have innovative ideas on how to do that.

Bernard said the Sexual Violence Strategy was geared towards youth.

“What we heard time and time again was that we needed to focus on youth, and find ways to serve them better,” said Bernard.

One of the organizations the provincial government asked to help create the grant program was the HeartWood Centre for Community Youth Development.

Laura Swaine, executive director of HeartWood, said the organization conducted 14 sessions with youth across the province to collect information about sexual violence and its prevention.

“[The youth] know what is going on, they want to talk about it, they want to be a part of it, and they want to help lead prevention and innovation,” said Swaine.

Bernard said the youth were ready to talk because they had not been asked before about sexual violence.

Swaine said the grant program gives youth an opportunity to talk about their ideas and engage with helping to prevent sexual violence.

“These funding streams, the two of them, really reach out to [youth] groups because sometimes that’s where the best ideas come from,” said Bernard.

She said the grant program is unique because it allows youth groups such as high school student councils to apply for the funding, where traditionally they were not eligible for government grants.

The government will be accepting grant applications until Jan. 15, 2016.

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