Peterborough is launching Sexual Assault Awareness Month with a straight-forward message – “We are here to support, your well-being and your safety.”
Various partners on the front lines of response addressing sexual and domestic violence locally are teaming up to raise awareness of the issue and the supports and services available. This year presents even more critical circumstances and community members can help keep each other safe.
“It’s vital during this time of COVID-19 self-isolation to virtually check in on our family, friends and neighbours around their safety,” partners say in a news release.
Together, the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre (KSAC), the Peterborough Police Service, the YWCA Victim Services Peterborough, Haliburton, Northumberland and the sexual assault/domestic violence response team at Peterborough Regional Health Centre wants survivors of violence to know their emergency and crisis support services continue to be available.
KSAC runs services that are accessible 24 hours, 7 days a week through the crisis phone line at 1-866-298-7778. It also hosts a weekend webchat from Friday through Sunday from 7 to 11 p.m.
Counselling services are available over the phone and online and includes online group workshops. New clients can contact the centre by phone at 705-748-5901, by text at 705-710-5234 and/or by webchat on Mondays to Fridays from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. KSAC is active on social media with seven days a week of programming on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok.
“Whether you’re experiencing symptoms of past trauma, you’re not safe in the place you are self-isolating from COVID-19, or you are looking for strategies to get through the day, we’re here for you,” says Lisa Clarke, executive director of KSAC.
Meanwhile, Peterborough Police Service is also available to provide support.
“Our service has taken strides to ensure a trauma-informed approach to our response,” says Peterborough Police Service Inspector Neil Collins.
“We understand that victims and survivors may only want to talk and receive advice, or make an initial report without further investigative follow up or charges/court proceedings. That is understandable and acceptable as we proceed with the complainant’s wishes in the forefront.”
If charges are laid, police ensures partnering community agencies are involved and that proper supports are made available.
Community members are encouraged to watch an online video series developed for survivors of sexual violence and the people who are supporting them.
Peterborough County OPP can also be contacted by calling 705-742-0401 or by dialing 911.
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