Canada: ‘Can’t express how crucial it is’: SASS addresses sexual violence with action plan - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada ‘Can’t express how crucial it is’: SASS addresses sexual violence with action plan

19:50  30 november  2019
19:50  30 november  2019 Source:   globalnews.ca

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Sexual violence is a serious problem that can have lasting, harmful effects on victims and their family, friends, and communities. Preventing sexual violence requires addressing factors at all levels of the social ecology—the individual, relational, community, and societal levels.

We can help you. The Sexual Assault Support Services ( SASS ) program is a FREE service available to anyone who has been impacted by sexual assault, incest or any type of Whether you have been the victim of a sexual assault, or you love someone who has been, it is typically very difficult to process.

a close up of a person: Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan have outlined an action plan to address sexual violence in the province. © File/ Global News Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan have outlined an action plan to address sexual violence in the province.

Zach Miller knows the importance of having a strong support system in place for sexual assault survivors.

At age 10, Miller was abducted from his family’s farm in Whitewood, Sask. in 2006.

Peter Whitmore held Miller and a 14-year-old boy from Manitoba captive at an abandoned farmhouse near Kipling – sexually assaulting them both.

They were kept there for two days.

“The worst part about it is that we didn’t get the proper help until an out-of-province organization – the Canadian Centre of Child Protection got involved in us and got us the help our family needed,” Miller said.

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“ How are we going to address alcoholism without providing rehabilitative services to alcoholics?” she says. Both Duckett and Raven have chosen to focus on public health strategies to address the epidemic of sexual violence rather than the criminal justice system for several important reasons.

“When it comes to crime, especially crimes that involve children – making sure they get the help they need and the family gets the help they need to stay together – that is the most crucial thing.”

Unfortunately, sexual violence is all too common in Saskatchewan.

Statistics Canada claims there are about 104 incidents per 100,000 people in the province – representing individuals in critical need of care and support.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan resident wanted on Canada-wide warrant for alleged sex crimes

Which is why Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan (SASS) came up with an action plan, released in May.

It outlined key items to address sexual violence and promoting safer communities.

“The alarming part is that we know the cost of violence is immense and the trauma it leads to. Sexual violence is the root cause of a lot of social issues,” said Patience Umerewneza, SASS action plan coordinator.

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The message behind these actions is that violent violent consequences will follow if you don’ t obey. Guilt – Your partner feels guilt after abusing you, but not because of their actions . They’re more worried about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences for their abusive behavior.

Problem/Condition: Sexual violence , stalking, and intimate partner violence are public health problems known to have a negative impact on millions of CDC seeks to prevent these forms of violence with strategies that address known risk factors for perpetration and by changing social norms and

“When you think about how high it is, and the implications of that high rate to the province, it means we have a lot of people walking around with unresolved trauma…not just individuals, but families and communities.”

Umerewneza said that trauma leads to other health and wellness issues including chronic and mental illnesses along with addictions.

READ MORE: Schools tackle sexual assault even before students hit campus

“[It impacts] their overall well-being, their ability to be productive in society, their ability to contribute in a way that’s meaningful…and then to pass on to the next generation – a healthy way of life,” Umerewneza said.

“It’s beyond an individual issue.  It’s a social issue, it’s a public health issue, it’s a systemic issue and it also has a lot to do with our history of inequality and colonization in Canada.”

Of the 22 action items in their action plan, SASS outlined four that need to be addressed immediately.

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Risk factors are linked to a greater likelihood of sexual violence (SV) perpetration. They are contributing factors and might not be direct causes. Not everyone who is identified as at risk becomes a perpetrator of violence . A combination of individual, relational, community

First, changing the attitudes and norms that perpetuate sexual violence through more education and public awareness initiatives.

Second, expanding sexual violence first responder training to include community leaders and all human service sectors.

READ MORE: Plan announced to take action on sexual violence in Saskatchewan

Third, expanding the existing trauma and violence informed counselling and training by building stronger partnerships.

Finally, exploring ways to expand Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) training to those working in urban, rural and remote emergency facilities.

“I can’t express how crucial it is to have these kinds of tools…we need to as a province, as a country, stand behind [survivors] to let them know they’re not alone,” Miller said.

Front-line agencies recently received a $330,000 increase in funding over the next two years from the Ministry of Justice to expand trauma and violence-informed counselling.

Umerewneza believes much more is needed. Not just funding, but more support services and an all-hands-on-deck approach.

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SASS is a free and confidential support service for southern Tasmanian people of all ages who have been affected by any form of sexual violence . Sexual Assault Support Service has released " It 's Okay to Tell", advertising on local Tasmanian television channel Southern Cross.

Ending sexual violence was not a responsibility that Governments alone could bear, many speakers emphasized. His country’s national action plan , which was being finalized, set out a range of It was agreed that the responsibility to protect against rape and sexual abuse lay with the State.

“While the investment they provided is welcomed and much needed, it’s not enough because it’s not just affecting their ministry and it has to be reflected in other areas,” Umerewneza said.

READ MORE: Sask. sexual assault strategy expected in spring 2019

“It’s an issue that is widespread, complex and it has to be tackled strategically.”

SASS said it’s not a call out to government, but more of a guidance tool going forward.

“This is not specific to the government by any means, they are definitely one of our audiences in terms of keeping this issue on their radar and recognizing this is an epidemic,” said Kerrie Isaac, SASS executive director.

“Our audience is everyone. We all need to work together on this issue.”

Miller agrees with its importance and believes SASS’s action plan could go a long way in creating a positive change.

"Sexual violence is on the rise, yet there is nothing out there for them. There’s nothing out there from the families, there’s nothing out there for the victims, there’s no one to take care of them within this province and we need that," Miller said.

SASS worked with a number of representatives on the project including people from provincial, federal and Indigenous governments along with law enforcement and violence prevention organizations.

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