HALIFAX: Twenty-four community organizations and groups are receiving grants to prevent domestic violence.

“Domestic violence is a complex issue that affects too many Nova Scotians,” said Kelly Regan, Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, today, April 29. “What we learn from these projects, along with the deep expertise in our communities, will help build the best plan for addressing and preventing domestic violence.”

The grants, totalling $912,000, are part of the work to develop Standing Together, a provincial plan to prevent domestic violence and support victims and their families.

A wide range of projects are receiving grants. They include ones focused on addressing domestic violence in specific communities, including African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaw communities, as well as projects focused on engaging and developing supports for groups such as children and youth, men and boys, girls and young women and women with disabilities.

Prevention grants include the Eskasoni School Board which will get $3,400 for the “Red Dress Project.” The project will work with high school youth to discuss the media’s impact on violence, violence prevention, and community violence prevention strategies. The youth will create an art project and film.

The Naomi Society was approved for $10,000 for “A Youth’s Perspective: Engaging Children and Youth in Discussion on Domestic Violence,” in Antigonish and Guysborough counties. The project will take place through in-school lunch programs that will work to interrupt the cycle of violence using a trauma-informed approach and help reduce barriers for boys who are seeking services for school-based healthy relationship programming.

The Union of Nova Scotia Indians will receive $10,000 for “New Paths,” for the five Mi’kmaw communities in Cape Breton (Eskasoni, Membertou, Potlotek, Wagmatcook, We’koqma’q). The project will address domestic violence and anger management using the seven sacred teachings and will incorporate both visuals and storytelling designed by a registered psychotherapist with input from Elders, cultural support advisors, community members, and other professional organizations.

Under the Shift Grants, Eskasoni Mental Health Services was greenlit for $75,000 for “The Way Forward: Understanding Healthy Masculinity.” The project will initiate a weekly discussion group program in Eskasoni for boys aged 11-14 and men aged 18-35 to normalize help-seeking behavior and build a better understanding of boys’ and men’s holistic health in line with the social determinants of First Nations wellness and related indicators of such wellness.

Receiving $75,000 is Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia for “Strait Area Healthy Relationships: Engaging Men and Boys,” serving Antigonish, Guysborough, Richmond, and Inverness counties.

The project’s primary focus is school-based peer-facilitated programming, after-school youth engagement programming, drop-in social inclusion sessions for men, and systems navigation family violence supports for men and boys. Subjects include healthy relationships, informed consent, well-being, physical exercise, nutrition and cooking, employment skills, budgeting, free personal hygiene appointments, and coordinating domestic violence services and referrals.

Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association will receive $75,000 for “Ending Domestic Violence Starts with Me,” which is a province-wide initiative. The project intends to prevent violence against Mi’kmaq women by using intergenerational learning and cultural reintegration to strengthen sense of self and belonging.

Also approved for $75,000 is the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia for “Not Just Victims of Family Violence: Our Children, Our Future,” which is another province-wide grant. The project will provide expert training for staff members in member organizations across the province on working with children who have experienced domestic and family violence.

“We welcome the support of the province for our project, Not Just Victims of Family Violence: Our Children, Our Future,” said Shiva Nourpanah, provincial co-ordinator of the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia. “We developed this two-year project in partnership with SeaStar Child and Youth Advocacy Centre at the IWK Health Centre. It will deliver expert, trauma-informed training on working with children who have experienced domestic and family violence to the staff of our member organizations, and put standardized, consistent practices in place across the province.”

Eleven of the 24 grant recipients received Standing Together Shift grants, which provide up to $75,000 to help organizations explore, develop and test new ideas for preventing domestic violence and providing support to victims and their families.

Thirteen projects received Standing Together Prevention grants. These grants provide up to $10,000 for projects that raise awareness of domestic violence and encourage people and communities to get involved and take action.

Research Nova Scotia is administering the grants. The recipients were selected by an independent review committee.

For a list of projects receiving grants, please see www.novascotia.ca/standingtogether.