July 18th, 2024

City Council secures $200K grant for Safe Reporting program


By Lethbridge Herald on February 16, 2024.

Community safety continues to be a top priority for City Councillors who unanimously approved provincial grant funding dollars aimed at increasing safety in the city.

The City of Lethbridge in partnership with the Lethbridge Police Service successfully applied for the Alberta Government’s Community Support Fund. The Community Support Fund awards money for projects or initiatives that improve the well-being of Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual plus (2S+) people by supporting community-based projects or initiatives that address violence against and increase safety and economic security of Indigenous women, girls and 2S+people.

Stemming from the City’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls workplan, City Council approved the provincial grant amount of $200,000, be applied to the creation and delivery of a safe reporting program.

“We’re very grateful to our partners at the Government of Alberta for providing the funding to assist in the creation and delivery of this program,” says Coun. Jenn Schmidt-Rempel. “Building towards safer and healthier outcomes for our community is a top priority for Council. This program will work to support those goals and will be another valuable resource for those who need it.”

The program will focus on reducing barriers and broadening the range of choices for survivors of sexual violence, and will be developed and delivered in partnership with the Blackfoot Resource Hub, the Sweetgrass Youth Alliance, Honouring Traditions and Reconciliation Society, the City’s Indigenous Relations Office, Alberta Health Services (AHS) Indigenous Wellness Core in the South Zone, and the Lethbridge Police Service.

“We recognize that sexual violence is underreported and there is a significant community need for the creation of safe spaces and mechanisms for online reporting to help reduce barriers for survivors,” said Lethbridge Police Chief, Shahin Mehdizadeh. “The Lethbridge Police Service looks forward to partnering with the City of Lethbridge and other community stakeholders to provide resources that enhance supports to assist Indigenous women, girls and Two Spirt+ people.”

The two main objectives of the Safe Reporting program are the creation and promotion of additional safe spaces in downtown Lethbridge at service delivery organizations and in public places that meet the unique needs of Indigenous women, girls and Two-Spirit+ people; and the creation and promotion of a community-wide online safe reporting system that survivors can access through various channels, allowing them to report incidents on their terms.

Work is now underway to deliver the program to the community, and additional information is expected to be released in the coming weeks. The grant funding will become available in March this year and will be provided through to the summer of 2026, with a review to follow to determine if it should be continued beyond the current funding timeline.

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