Grant received for bully-free project

The District of Summerland will receive a $14,500 provincial grant to combat bullying.

The District of Summerland will receive a $14,500 provincial grant to combat bullying.

The District of Summerland and the South Okanagan Victim Assistance Society are each receiving provincial grants from civil forfeiture proceeds, one to combat bullying in schools and the other to combat family violence at home.

The local grants, announced March 8 by Penticton MLA Bill Barisoff, are part of nearly $1 million going to 81 projects around the province.

“Every child at school deserves to feel safe and respected. Having older students work with Grades 6 to 9 helps spread the message among students that bullying has no place in our schools,” said Barisoff.

B.C.’s civil forfeiture office files civil court actions against property alleged to be a tool used to further unlawful activity or a proceed of it.

The Summerland Bully Free project is focused on raising awareness and addressing bullying through the whole community. It includes the development of a video in addition to a website that will host information about bullying.

The project is supported by a number of partners, including the mayor, RCMP, Summerland Middle School and a number of community agencies.

Change for Good: Phase II will receive $30,000. The first phase of Change for Good was initiated as a pilot project in the South Okanagan Similkameen between Dec. 1, 2011 and Oct. 31, 2012. Its goal was to address a gap in voluntary services for those men choosing to address their abusive behaviour towards their partners.

Change for Good: Phase II will build on the lessons and successes of Phase I. Like Phase I, this project addresses both family violence and violence against women using the same broad objectives. These are to provide accessible counselling for those voluntarily choosing to address abusive or violent behaviour, and increase community awareness of both family and gender-based violence.

The projects receiving funding this year are related to combating bullying, youth crime, violence against women and family violence, human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and community crime, as well as police training and equipment.

In all, 16 school-led anti-bullying efforts are sharing about $200,000 of the $1 million in grants.

In November 2012, the B.C. government announced that up to $1 million would be available from civil forfeiture proceeds for projects geared to building community safety, and invited applications from schools, community groups, and policing agencies.

Active since 2006, B.C.’s civil forfeiture program has put more than $9 million in proceeds back into communities, to crime prevention programs and to victims of fraud and phoney investment schemes.

B.C.’s civil forfeiture program is the second-oldest among eight provincial programs that are now active across Canada.