Sexual violence targeted: N.S. offers grants for youth programs

By Payge Woodard

A Nova Scotia grant program encourages young people to help break the silence on sexual violence.

More than 100 groups from across the province applied for prevention innovation grants.      The grants are available to support groups that reach out to their peers in creative ways to stop sexual violence.

The Department of Community Services held workshops throughout the province to encourage young people to apply for the grants.

Sarah Granke, the department’s sexual violence prevention and support specialist, says the grants are designed to be easy to fill out.

There are two grant packages young people were able to apply for. Grants up to $5,000 and up to $50,000 are available.

Granke said Nova Scotians need to change the society we live in. She believes it will take time and involvement from everyone in the province.

“Not one person or one group can do this. We all need to get in on it.”

Grants will be awarded by the end of March.

Granke says the department is also looking into working with the province’s universities to challenge consent culture on campus.

Statistics presented to the legislatures community sevices committee this week show that 647 sexual assaults were reported to police in Nova Scotia in 2013.

While the provincial rate of sexual assault decreased by three per cent from the previous year, it remains above the national rate.

The grants are also designed to support marginalized groups like the LGBTQ community.