Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan (SASS) Response to Federal Budget 2023
SASS recognizes the Government of Canada’s financial contributions to create a safer country for all Canadians, including women, Indigenous peoples, members of the 2SLGBTQI+ community and more.
We are pleased that the 2023 Federal Budget includes $160 million over three years for Canadian organizations focused on supporting women, $124.7 million over five years to advance the National Action Plan through addressing the Calls to Justice, and $49.5 million over five years for the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program.
We appreciate the funding in this year’s budget, and reiterate our commitment to finding and funding more supports for survivors of sexualized violence. Sexual violence services in Saskatchewan are chronically underfunded, falling short of the significant investment required to meaningfully address the issues we face here.
Sexual violence is a unique form of violence that occurs both within and outside of intimate partner and family violence, and it requires a parallel and distinct response. Saskatchewan has the 2nd highest rate at 104 incidents per 100,000, compared to an overall national rate of 58 per 100,000. These rates demonstrate the need for ongoing strategic investment to address this issue.
Of particular concern to us are the gaps in specialized services for rural, remote and northern communities. Sexual assaults are significantly higher in rural communities, and reduced access to specialized services, housing and shelters, employment opportunities, and public transportation have increased vulnerabilities to violence in Saskatchewan’s rural and remote communities.
Unaddressed sexual violence trauma has a significant cost reflected through loss productivity in work, mental illness, homelessness, interpersonal violence, addictions, and chronic physical illnesses, and intergenerational trauma. It pays to properly fund sexual violence services and ensure accessibility in Saskatchewan, and throughout Canada.