The Fireweed Safe Haven in Fort St. James—part of the Fireweed Collective Society—has received $10,000 in provincial finding to assist Aboriginal women and children trying to escape domestic violence.
Executive Director Brandi Hanterman is very excited about the funding, which will enable the Society to provide transportation for women and children who come to the haven for assistance. “It means we can offer transportation to medical and legal appointments, or for women who need to replace or obtain identification documents,” she says. “We can also use it to help high risk women leave the communities if they need to get out fast or it’s too dangerous for them here.”
The haven also provides support in helping to get women back on their feet. “It’s a very personalized service,” says Hanterman. “There are very different needs from one woman to another.”
Although the funding is targeted specifically at First Nations women and children, Hanterman says that non-Aboriginal women and children who face abuse are also welcome. “We can sit down with them and help them access the services they need.”
The $10,000 funding is being rolled out over two years, and Hanterman says the society is interested to see what it looks like going forward. “The lack of buses in Fort St. James means that in the past any transportation expenses have come from the society’s core costs. This funding makes it a lot easier for us to support women.” Staff provide the transportation, but Hanterman is open to working with other community groups, such as Northern Health, to see if some transport needs can be met that way.
“We’re very excited about this funding, which is great news,” says Hanterman. “There are so many women hitchhiking in this area, and this will help to stop that.”
Anyone wanting to contact the Fireweed Society and Safe Haven should call their crisis line at (250) 996-8000.
The Joy Aitkens Safe Home—a transition house for women and children leaving abuse in Vanderhoof—also received a $10,000 grant, as did the Eagle’s Nest Transition House in the Lakes District.