FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has shown its support for stakeholder groups working on violence prevention as a way to help women and families in New Brunswick.

“Women and their children who leave abusive relationships need the support of their communities and their government to build new lives free of violence,” said Premier Brian Gallant, who is also minister responsible for women’s equality.

Visiting with stakeholder groups provided Gallant with the opportunity to learn first-hand about the work they are doing and reiterate the government’s commitment to help women and families.

“Violence against women continues to be a serious societal issue, having a profound effect on their quality of life and on the province’s social and economic future,” said Gallant.

There are 13 transition houses and five second-stage housing programs in operation, as well as a sexual assault crisis centre in Fredericton and a Sexual Assault Response Team in Saint John.

“It takes time and courage to overcome the impact of violence,” said Gallant. “With support services and affordable housing, women and their children can heal and re-establish themselves in a safe and healthy environment. We are proud to work with community-based organizations that are focused on making our province a more secure, economically-viable and sustainable place for women and family life.”

This summer Gallant visited second-stage housing programs across the province including Crossroads for Women in Moncton, Maison Oasis in Kent, Residence of Hope at the Beauséjour Family Crisis Resource Centre, Liberty Lane Inc. in Fredericton, and Second Stage Safe Haven in Saint John as well as the Saint John Sexual Assault Response Team.

In 2015-16, through the Women’s Equality Branch, the provincial government provided $330,000 in program funding support for all five facilities. Another $50,000 has been allocated for the Greater Saint John Sexual Assault Response Team at St. Joseph’s Community Health Centre.

Many women seeking to escape violence do not have sufficient income to secure housing and, as a result, often return to abusive home situations. Second-stage housing supports women and their children by providing affordable housing and individual, group and children’s support for about one year.

In 2013-14, 51 women and 53 children resided in second-stage housing in New Brunswick. The Department of Social Development provides rent supplements for the units based on income. There are 34 second-stage housing units in the province.

The Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre is responsible for implementing the Provincial Strategy on Sexual Assault Services.

The Greater Saint John Sexual Assault Response Team provides 24-hour volunteer support services to male and female survivors of sexual abuse over the age of 16.