Volume 96, Issue 79
Wednesday, February 19, 2003

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Funding to aid abuse victims

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

A London cultural centre is seeing green, after receiving provincial funding to assist the victims of domestic abuse.

On Monday, the London Across Languages Centre received $209,891 from the Ministry of Citizenship, in a presentation made by Dianne Cunningham, the London North-Centre member of provincial parliament .

"This cultural interpretation program is helping people affected by domestic violence, where English is a second language," Cunningham said.

Cunningham – who is also the Minister for Women's Issues – said there are two main goals to accomplish through the funding. The first is to stop the violence, and the second is to increase women's economic independence, she said.

Mike Sauer, executive director of the ALC, said the funding will cover many areas, including the provision of professional, qualified interpreters for the victims of domestic violence, he said.

"[The money] helps us to train interpreters, so they are [prepared] to do [their] job," Sauer said, adding this involves recruitment, screening and a 10-week training course.

ALC has been interpreting for victims of domestic violence since 1989, Sauer said, adding the service is not solely for domestic violence, but also provides interpreters in the community, such as at hospitals and Children's Aid.

ALC deals with 7,000 interpretation cases a year, of which 1,000 are domestic violence cases, Sauer said.

"The [money] is used to provide interpreter services on a 24-hour basis for women who are victims of domestic abuse and who don't speak English," said Lorne St. Croix, spokesperson for the Ministry of Citizenship.

The money can be used in the domestic violence court system and by health care and social providers who work with victims of domestic violence, he added.

The program at ALC has been funded by the ministry for a few years, Sauer said, adding the finances they received are not part of an annual transfer payment.

"It is not a project grant per se, but we apply every year and may or may not get it," he added.

Cunningham said ALC provides services in approximately 28 languages, noting the importance of providing services to citizens in their own language.

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2002 THE GAZETTE