$2 million for male victims of sexual abuse
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 20, 2010 | 6:02 PM ET
The Canadian Press
Ontario men and boys who are victims of sexual abuse will soon be able to get co-ordinated help, support and counselling.
Attorney General Chris Bentley says the province will spend $2 million over the next two years to establish four networks across Ontario, each with a lead agency to co-ordinate services for men.
Bentley says it's the first government program to offer specialized help for male victims of sexual abuse in Canada, and won't be scrapped after two years.
"It's a first and you know what, it's about time," he said. "We're doing what's right.
Bentley says the four networks will provide individual counselling, group counselling, and other support for male victims of sexual abuse. The networks will also assist in training and education initiatives.
A toll-free hotline for male victims of sexual abuse will provide crisis support.
"They're going to be set up immediately," Bentley said of the services.
The idea stemmed from the recommendations of a public inquiry into allegations of a sexual abuse ring operating in Cornwall, Ont.
One of the allegations was that a clan of powerful men sexually abused boys at a cottage during strange rituals while clad in robes.
Ontario Provincial Police spent four years investigating allegations of sexual abuse and laid 115 charges against 15 people under Project Truth. One person was convicted.
Provincial funding had been provided for victims in Cornwall to seek counselling, but the funding ran out in January.
Rick Goodwin of The Men's Project, a non-profit men's counselling agency based in Ottawa, calls Bentley's announcement a "historic" first step in supporting men who have been victims of sexual abuse.
However, he says the $2 million will only go so far.
"We would have liked to have seen more as a first step," he said. "We'll work with it. We'll do what we can with it."
After setting up these basic services across Ontario, the focus will need to shift to addressing the issues that emerge as a result of sexual abuse, such as family violence and addiction, Goodwin says.
"That's the next big piece that we need to do."
Goodwin says for years, male victims of sexual violence have been left without essential support and counselling.
"There's very few places to go to deal with the original trauma," he said.
Bentley acknowledged that there hasn't been "the type of co-ordinated response that we should have and need for male victims."
Bentley says funding will be increased if demand is greater than expected, and the program is designed to be flexible to meet the changing needs of victims.
Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2010/07/20/sex-abuse.html#ixzz0uGQDyKu5