Victoria Sexual Assault Centre Engagement and Change
As a member of the emergency response team, a board member, fundraiser, and as staff – I have been involved with the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC) for 12 years.
Since 2018, I have worked with this incredible organization to seek and secure predictable services for survivors of sexual assault. In March 2019, the Clinic was secured by a critical grant from the provincial government. This year, the BC government announced $10 million dollars for sexual assault.
The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre has Canada’s only sexual assault integrated clinic that supports survivors with medical care, crisis support, forensic exams, and options for police reporting in the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault. We know that those most likely to be targeted for sexual assault, including Indigenous, Black, racialized, Trans and gender minority folks are also those most likely to face barriers accessing care in traditional, institutional settings. The care offered by this service is trauma-informed, survivor-centred, culturally-aware and evidence-based. It was also without predictable or secure funding.
I have supported VSAC navigating our local, regional and provincial governments and processes. Key to this work has also been cultivating productive and collaborative relationships with local stakeholders, including nurses, police, and activists, and other anti-violence organization in Victoria and across the province, including WAVAW in Vancouver, West Coast LEAF, The Ending Violence Association of BC, and sexual assault centres in smaller and rural centres.
This work included:
- 2019 budget submission to the Finance and Government Services Committee, including a recommendation from the Committee in their Final Report for secure funding for sexual assault emergency response.
- A unanimous motion at the Union of BC Municipalities, and motions, letters of support, and grants from the Capital Regional Hospital District, Victoria, Saanich, View Royal, Esquimalt, Langford, Oak Bay, and Kamloops.
- Advocacy and support from broad range of stakeholders, including 12 anti-violence organizations, Regional Association of Police Chiefs, Forensic Nurse Examiners, representatives from First Nations Health Authority, social workers and counsellors, and our local MPs.
- Cross-party engagement, including Clinic tours for members from all provincial parties and several national parties.
- Evidence-based media and knowledge sharing, including pieces in the Institute for Research on Public Policy.
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