Victoria Sexual Assault Centre
Our Impact Why We Exist
The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC) assists individuals coping with the devastating effects of sexualized violence. From crisis line support and hospital accompaniment to counselling and skill development, we provide services to help individuals understand the impact of trauma in their lives; identify their strengths; learn healthy strategies for managing feelings; regain trust in themselves and others; and empower them to lead full and productive lives.
It is also the mission of VSAC to work toward the prevention of sexualized violence. Project Respect, our prevention program, addresses the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that allow sexualized violence to occur in our society through various programs and workshops.
Our Story What We Do
VSAC was founded in December 1982, when a committed group of women recognized a need for ongoing support for survivors of sexualized violence and increased public awareness of the issue. By 1983, they were incorporated & the society had two paid staff and a group of trained volunteers and provided a 24 hour crisis line, accompaniment to hospital or police and counselling for survivors of sexual assault. Healing, education and prevention are the goals that drive the society’s work.
Today, VSAC has a volunteer Board of Directors and staff that serves over 2,500 survivors of sexual assault each year. Our goal is to provide survivors with immediate access to non-judgmental, emotional/psychosocial support and a continuum of care as they navigate the personal impacts of trauma experienced due to sexualized violence, whether recent sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse.
This continuum of care means that clients receive services as needed and progress to other levels of care, whether within our Centre or through referrals when appropriate. For example, a client may first be emotionally supported during a forensic exam at the hospital by a SART worker, then assisted through the criminal justice process by a Victim Service worker, and afterward begin longer term therapy with a trauma counsellor.
Project Respect is the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre’s multiple award-winning gender-based violence prevention program. Founded in 1999, Project Respect supports youth to develop knowledge and skills to practice respectful relationships and enthusiastic consent (only yes means yes) and to engage in social action to end sexualized violence and create inclusive communities.
Our Programs How We Do It
24-hour Crisis and Information Line: 250-383-3232
- Facilitates immediate 24-hour crisis response and information for people of all genders impacted by sexualized violence (this 24-hour line is made possible through a partnership with the Central Vancouver Island Crisis Line Society).
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)
- Provides immediate support and information to recent survivors of sexual assault at the hospital or police station (all genders).
Counselling - Individual or group, crisis or longer term
- VSAC provides counselling to assist in dealing with the most immediate emotional, physical and behavioural reactions to sexual assault and provides help to those currently in crisis as a result of historical sexual abuse; we also provide longer term counselling to help in dealing with sexual trauma and its long term effects.
- Provides services and support connected to the legal system including: police reporting, court process, case status and applications for the Crime Victim Assistance Program.
- Our mulitple award-winning, violence prevention program engages youth to break the silence around sexualized violence by critically exploring its root causes, such as power and gender expectations, and drawing connections among the multiple forms this violence takes.
- The young people that are part of Project Respect play an important role in driving all of our work – from visioning to project delivery and evaluation.
- At Project Respect, we are focused on inter-generational community engagement as the key to shifting away from a culture of violence and toward a culture of consent and respect. In our youth-led social action initiatives, we work from a youth-adult partnership model through which adult staff and community mentors work in solidarity with youth leaders to understand and respond to violence through innovative projects that engage communities.
- Our innovative strategies for mobilizing youth anti-violence activism and creating social change toward safer more inclusive communities have been recognized locally, provincially and nationally. Examples of our recent youth-led activities include: blogging, street art, media production, community dialogues, guerilla theatre, social action camps, peer workshops, and youth-facilitated trainings for teachers.
- Website: www.yesmeansyes.com
What You Can Do
JOIN US in our mission to end sexualized violence through healing, education, and prevention and supporting women and all trans* survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, through advocacy, counselling, and empowerment.
There are many ways to get involved:
Donations to the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre ensure that survivors of sexualized violence and historic childhood sexual abuse have the tools and support they need to heal. Your gifts also support our award winning sexualized violence prevention program, Project Respect. Make a gift online or find out other ways to give.
Monthly donations allow us to sustain our work and to plan better for the future. Becoming a monthly donor is a concrete way to show your commitment to our mission and this is invaluable to our work.
Each year community members and partners donate more than half of our 1.2 million dollar budget. Thank you for your support!
- Every year we are inspired by the dedication and compassion of our volunteers. The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre would not be able to provide the services it does without the support and commitment of volunteers.
Volunteering at the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre may mean providing support to recent survivors of sexual assault, helping out with administrative tasks, assisting with events, or developing policy. Find out more about current volunteer oppourtunities.
- We have a number of events throughout the year to raise awareness and inspire action to prevent sexualzied violence. Check our website to find out what's coming up!