More cash needed for Missing Women Inquiry recommendations 0
Commissioner Wally Oppal's Missing Women Inquiry report, Forsaken, describes the police investigations into the disappearances of dozens of women as “blatant failures,” Monday Dec. 17, 2012. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
A Vancouver women’s drop-in centre only has enough cash to remain open 18 hours a day, well short of the 24 hours recommended in the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry report released in December.
The province has already injected $750,000 into the Downtown Eastside WISH Drop-In Centre, however the city’s director of social policy Mary Clare Zak told council that isn’t enough to keep the facility open full time.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said he’s hopeful the provincial government will pony up more cash for the centre that ensures women in the survival sex trade have a safe place to find refuge.
“It’s a big concern learning the province’s funding won’t enable 24-7 (operations) at WISH and that’s clearly what the inquiry called for,” he said, adding Vancouver already provides significant grants to local women’s organizations.
Robertson said the recommendation was directed at the provincial government and the city would keep the pressure on Victoria to ensure there’s enough money to follow through.
Meanwhile, Zak also updated council on efforts to reduce court warrants issued for minor offences — such as public urination or jaywalking — noting staff have been reviewing all bylaw tickets with senior police officers and the Crown.
This MWCI report recommendation is meant to encourage sex-trade workers to come forward to investigators.
City manager Penny Ballem told council there’s been a “significant paradigm shift” in Vancouver’s approach to the sex-trade industry as it moves away from enforcement to root-cause analysis.