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Centre offers counselling and services for sexual assault victims

The Women’s Resource Centre (TWRC) in Brandon, Manitoba has a new location there at 729 Princess Avenue with counselling and advocacy services for adult victims of sexual assault. In 2015 an assessment, funded by the Status of Women Canada, of sexual assault resources in Brandon and area reported an overwhelming need for the delivery of more trauma-informed services related to sexual assault that are collaborative and co-ordinated across the province.

The report also identified the need for a trained “go to” person who would have the knowledge and information required to provide some direction and consultation on sexual assault cases as required. “When we realized that relatively little had been done since this survey was conducted to fill this massive gap in our community, we knew we needed to take action,” said executive director, Brandy Robertson, “and we knew that offering services to victims of sexual assault made sense alongside the domestic violence support services we already offer.”

This need became increasingly obvious in spring 2016 when the handling of sexual assaults on Brandon University’s campus came under fire and again in fall 2016 when a string of downtown sexual assaults rocked the city. In November 2016, the federal government’s Department of Justice put a call out for funding proposals entitled “Measures to Enhance Criminal Justice System Responses to Adult Sexual Assault in Canada.” Applicants could apply for single- or multi-year funding to address the unique challenges faced by adult victims and survivors of sexual assault.

“It was a lengthy and in-depth application process,” said Robertson, “but we were already seeing an influx of women coming to the centre requesting this kind of assistance so there really wasn’t a question as to whether or not we would apply.” TWRC received approval for its project “Adult Sexual Assault Victim Counselling and Advocacy in Brandon and Area” in January of 2017. TWRC will be the only agency outside of Winnipeg with counsellors and advocates specifically trained in trauma-informed, survivor-centred sexual assault support offering services to the public.

The Women’s Resource Centre is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, closed Thursdays, and open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, or call 204-726-8632 or email [email protected]. Immediate sexual assault crisis support can be reached at 1-888-292-7565. Immediate domestic violence crisis support can be reached at 1-877-977-0007.

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