Crisis-line expansions will support survivors of gender-based violence

Press Release

May 17, 2023

VICTORIA – Survivors of gender-based violence throughout the province will soon have better access to critical services they need in times of crisis.

Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre (Salal) and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) have received new federal funding to enhance their crisis lines, which provide 24-hour provincewide, comprehensive, specialized gender-based violence supports. These services include risk assessment, immediate safety planning and addressing the unique needs of Indigenous victims.

“People in danger need to know they have options,” said Kelli Paddon, B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity. “As we continue to develop a gender-based violence action plan for B.C., the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and Salal will help strengthen supports available to ensure people are cared for, provided trauma-informed and culturally appropriate support, and can begin the path toward healing when the time is right for them.”

The two organizations will receive $2.75 million over four years as part of Women and Gender Equality Canada’s National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. During the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations operating crisis lines in British Columbia reported an increased volume of calls as people experiencing violence and those seeking related services experienced barriers to accessing services safely. The federal funding will support these organizations to enhance and expand their crisis-line services, allowing them to help more people in B.C.

“People who experience gender-based violence need to be able to access supports and the care they need when and where they need it,” said Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Our government has created stable, ongoing funding for sexual assault services programs and substantially increased funding to other victim-service programs. We know there is more to do, and enhancing crisis lines will make a critical difference for many women, girls, transgender and non-binary people across B.C.”

Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre offers 24-hour immediate crisis assistance, and anti-oppressive, decolonizing and intersectional feminist support to survivors of gender-based violence, including sexualized and domestic violence, as well as workshops to increase knowledge and awareness about sexual violence in communities throughout British Columbia.

The IRSSS provides support to Indian residential school survivors, students and intergenerational survivors, while also offering 24-hour crisis support and support for families affected by trauma related to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and trauma-informed cultural support to survivors of gender-based violence.

Salal and IRSSS crisis-line services complement other local and regional crisis lines, including the provincewide VictimLinkBC helpline that is available to victims of all types of crime. By supporting Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations in expanding their survivor-support services and crisis lines, the Province is working toward creating safer communities and providing options for those facing crisis.


Marci Ien, federal Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth –

“Crisis hotlines are an essential tool that survivors and their loved ones can rely on when facing an emergency. We know that access to timely, informed and relevant services can save lives. Strengthening the capacity of crisis hotlines across the province and supporting the needs of diverse populations helps us move toward a Canada free from gender-based violence.”

Dalya Israel, executive director, Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre –

“We look forward to deepening our partnerships with other local gender-based violence organizations and grassroots movements throughout the province, which also have and will continue to respond to the needs of survivors. We look forward to strengthening our provincewide network of care so that survivors of gender-based violence in B.C. can access the support they need when they need it.”

Angela White, executive director, Indian Residential School Survivors Society –

“The IRSSS is proud to be working in partnership with Salal for better access to the care needed to support survivors and the people we serve. These crisis lines can be a lifesaver, as they offer low-barrier access to trauma-informed services. At the IRSSS, the crisis-line team is educated and has cultural safety training and awareness of the traumas of Indian residential schools and other determinants of First Nations’ health.”

Quick Facts:

  • The ministry provides more than $54 million annually to support more than 400 victim-service and violence-against-women programs throughout the province.
  • WAGE Canada reported on Aug. 10, 2022, that during the COVID-19 pandemic the demand for crisis-hotline services significantly increased across Canada.
  • Salal’s call volumes increased by more than 70% in 2021-22 compared to pre-pandemic call volumes in 2019-20.
  • VictimLinkBC’s call volumes increased by approximately 40% in 2021-22 compared to pre-pandemic call volumes in 2019-20.

Learn More:

For more information about the Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre, visit:

For immediate crisis support, call 604 255-6344 on the Lower Mainland
or the national toll-free line: 1 877 392-7583.

For more information about IRSSS, visit:
For immediate crisis support, call: 1 800 721-0066.

For more information about the crisis-line fundings:

For more information about VictimLinkBC, visit:
For immediate crisis support, call 1 800 563-0808.

For more information about victim services, including a directory of programs, visit the Victim Services and Violence Against Women Directory:

For more information on victim services:


Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Media Relations
250 213-3602


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