Friday, August 06, 2010

VGH domestic violence program closure called "outrageous" - two women's support groups were never consulted

- SashaW photo

24 hours exclusive

Battered Women’s Support Services and Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter strongly oppose closure of Vancouver General Hospital's domestic violence program

BC Association of Social Workers urges reversing decision by Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

By Bill Tieleman, 24 hours columnist

Two groups that support women victims of domestic violence say they were not consulted about closing Vancouver General Hospital’s existing domestic violence program, with one calling it “outrageous”.

And both Battered Women’s Support Services and Vancouver Rape Relief & Women’s Shelter say no consultation occurred despite an internal Vancouver Coastal Health Authority memo obtained exclusively by 24 hours that says existing VGH outpatients will be “transitioned” to community counseling services.

“It’s outrageous,” Angela Marie MacDougall, BWSS executive director said Thursday. “No, we don’t have the resources – we have 100 women on a waitlist right now for counseling.”

MacDougall said BWSS has 50 new cases of domestic violence weekly and no excess capacity to take on additional work currently done by the VGH program, which she called an “incredible resource”.

Vancouver Coastal spokesperson Anna Marie D’Angelo said Thursday that “we do not consult with external agencies when making these types of changes” because unionized positions are impacted.

D’Angelo denied the program was closing, instead saying Tuesday it was “expanding” to also cover adult abuse.

But D’ Angelo admitted VGH outpatient counseling will end, with community groups picking up that work, that current program director Kathleen MacKay must “reapply” for a new position and that a support position will be eliminated.

Rape Relief spokesperson Daisy Kler said Thursday she learned of the VGH decision by reading a 24 hours story Wednesday.

“It’s a very crucial service for women – there are not enough of these programs and to lose one – we’re very concerned,” Kler said.

The B.C. Association of Social Workers calls the decision - outlined in a July 26 Vancouver Coastal internal memo – “shocking” and “brutal”.

“Who will die or suffer significant injuries as the result of the program closure?” BCASW Executive Director Linda Korbin asked Wednesday.

In a news release Korbin says the BCASW is urging Vancouver Coastal to restore the domestic violence program at VGH and seek other funding for additional adult abuse services.

"The program, which has been operating as an Emergency based program since 1992 and as an outpatient clinic for ten years, has served hundreds of clients who have been referred from hospital, community physicians, psychiatrists and community agencies, including transition houses," the release states.

"Currently the program serves 20 to 25 people per week.

There is no evidence that community domestic violence programs have the capacity to absorb these victims of abuse into their caseloads, or that there are any alternate options for timely help for the individuals and their children who are being served by this highly respected program."

NOTE: This is a longer and edited version of the story that ran in 24 hours newspaper Friday


cherylb said...

Bastards! What can we do?

Anonymous said...

Campbell is a dictator, and dictators can be very underhanded. Don't forget, Campbell and Hansen lied, deceived and cheated to win, Campbell's election. BC is the most corrupt province, in all of Canada. There are several things, Campbell is being sneaky about. The Constitution is being disregarded. Our Civil Rights and Liberties, have been taken away from us. Democracy and Freedom, Campbell completely ignores. He has put this province, billions in debt. So, we have, a taxing, and slashing frenzy. BC is failing. Some forest fires, are just being left to burn, there is no money to fight them. We all know, Campbell has a total disregard, for children living in poverty. So he also would have no concern, for domestic violence. Campbell, is not in this, to do what is best for the people or the province. He is in this, for a 53% wage hike, and, his $2 million per year pension. The only things he has done, in BC, is to benefit himself and his business buddies. Anything, that costs him money, have always been ignored. Domestic violence, is not on his "radar".

Anonymous said...

But wait, (sadly) there's more

Michael Smyth reports in The Province:

In what became known as the Langley Project, B.C. police officers and Crown prosecutors teamed up with community-service providers to help victims of domestic violence get through an often intimidating court process.

A key goal of the program: support and reassure victims to ensure their safety — and so they wouldn't be intimidated into changing their stories and retracting their complaints.


To prevent that, police, prosecutors and social workers in the Langley Project would monitor and support victims to ensure their safety and provide information. Evidence against the accused would be assembled carefully, so cases wouldn't be totally reliant on victim testimony.


The results: a 35-per-cent increase in convictions and a 50-per-cent increase in the number of cases dropped.

Former Attorney-General of British Columbia Wally Oppal pioneered the Langley Project: " I'm told it's been cut ," he lamented in an interview. " It was a great program, very successful and some amazing things were accomplished. But I understand it's been stopped ."

Crankypants said...

This has Kevin Falcon's fingerprints all over it. He has already been on record as having the health authorities only provide core services. Fraser Health has cut many support programmes as have, I'm sure, the others as well.

Unfortunately these decisions put greater pressure on the community services that are beholden to charity in order to carry out their work. Considering that the BC Liberals turned off the tap for many such organizations, one can only conclude that they don't give a fig about the welbeing of those that are not likely to vote for them.

BC is becoming the "Best Place On Earth" to stay away from. Far, far away!

George R. McCasland said...

If the shelters would stop taking in homeless and drug addict women, and only accept those who were abused, they could help a lot more. They like to fill their beds with these others in order to claim they are full.

Anonymous said...

Looks like closing the DV program is part of a decade long attack on women by the BC Liberals.

Anonymous said...

Hundreds of millions in tax dollars are going to jobs for men (Gateway) while cuts to funding means abuse and unemployment for women.

cherylb said...

What would you suggest we do with the homeless and drug addicted women George? Leave them on the street?

How about the freakin Libs do their jobs properly instead? Or is that too much to expect?

Anonymous said...

Well said Cherylb. It seems the PABsmears are again chirping off. Diversionary tactics for sure. I sent this article out to aprox 290 e-mails. WOW! The responses I have gotten back are amazing. Seems that there are fewer and fewer gordo supporters out there. It seems to me only his cabinet, his girlfriends, and the big biz associates he had. That’s it. Maybe if we ever get the Virk / Basi trial underway, we might connect the dots way past the grunts, right up to his majesty “gordo the impaler”. RECALL IN THE FALL!

Kam Lee

Anonymous said...


How about putting on your website a question about what readers think Campbell will do next about the HST petition (such as):
- amend the Bill to give MLAs a "Hobson's Choice" before a "free vote" in the legislature,
-refer it to Elections BC and a referendum,
-refer it back to the courts on some technicality cooked up by the BC Chamber,
- other outrageous or corrupt option.