Ontario Enhancing Supports for Victims of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence in Toronto
Updated: Mar 31, 2022
The Ontario government is investing an additional $1 million in annual funding for Victim Services Toronto’s Exit Route program so victims and survivors of human trafficking and intimate partner violence have quick and seamless access to services and supports during one of the most traumatic times of their lives. Through Exit Route, victims and survivors are given immediate access to case managers and social workers at either their point of contact with police or their local community hub, ensuring they are connected with all the help and resources they may need. “This ongoing investment will help victims and survivors in Toronto more easily access the supports they need when they need them most,” said Jane McKenna, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues. “Exit Route streamlines the process so that victims and survivors are conveniently connected with services and supports, helping them on the road to healing and recovery.” Exit Route places case managers and social workers from Victim Services Toronto within various Toronto Police Service divisions and community hubs across the city, and strengthens relationships with local community organizations, to support victims and survivors of human trafficking and intimate partner violence, giving them immediate access to assistance. “Human trafficking and intimate partner violence are vicious crimes that can create long-term emotional, physical, spiritual and mental trauma,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “Victim Services Toronto’s Exit Route program is doing tremendous work to help survivors recover, and we are very pleased to invest in the program as part of our all-of-government effort to support survivors, prevent these crimes before they happen, and apprehend, charge and convict perpetrators.” This investment in Victim Services Toronto builds on the government’s recent announcement of $2 million in additional annual funding for the Victim Crisis Assistance Ontario (VCAO) Program, to provide support for VCAO organizations to meet the growing demand for service. Increasing and enhancing specialized supports to better meet the needs of victims and survivors of human trafficking is also a key focus of Ontario’s Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy. “Words cannot adequately express how grateful Victim Services Toronto is for the exceptional commitment of the Ontario Government and in particular, the Honourable Jane McKenna, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues, to service provision and the eradication of human trafficking and intimate partner violence. In the short time that Exit Route has been operational, over 200 individuals and their families have received urgent assistance and case management services and many new community partnerships have been established. Thank you!” said Bobbie McMurrich, Interim Executive Director, Victim Services Toronto.
Victim Services Toronto serves over 20,000 individuals affected by crime and tragic circumstances per year. Exit Route provides a more localized service delivery model for survivors of intimate partner violence and human trafficking across Toronto region.
The Victim Crisis Assistance Ontario program, of which Victim Services Toronto is a provider, is one of nine victim services programs transferring to the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services from the Ministry of the Attorney General. While the same front-line services providers will continue to provide seamless supports, this change will foster a more coordinated approach to victim services delivery.
Today’s announcement builds on the government’s initial investment in Victim Services Toronto’s Exit Route in 2021-22 by committing ongoing funding for the program beginning in 2022-23.