EDMONTON, AB — The Southeastern Alberta Sexual Assault Response Committee (SARC) is among the organizations which will be receiving funding from the provincial government to help survivors of sexual assault and sexual violence.
Wednesday morning, Minister for Status of Women Stephanie McLean announced $8.1 million in funding to the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS) for victim assistance.
Christina Johnson, executive director of SARC, was in attendance for the announcement in Edmonton. She said the organization is happy to receive the support.
“We’re extraordinarily grateful that this government has recognized the need of survivors of sexual violence and have said to them, we are here for you,” she said over the phone. “We see you. We hear you. We support you. We want to help you.”
Johnson says the exact amount of funding SARC will receive cannot be revealed yet, but adds the organization will be putting the money towards sexual trauma focused therapy, crisis support, education programs and the police and court support program.
Johnson adds the number of people accessing SARC for counselling has grown 76 per cent in 2017. She has attributed the increase due to awareness campaigns such as #MeToo and #IBelieveYou.
“The floodgates have opened, people are asking for assistance and deserve to have that when they are asking,” she said.
Johnson says the wait time for people to access one-on-one supports is nine months, though the organization can fast-track people into group programs quicker. She says the funding could help alleviate the wait time for people looking to access services.
“We’ll be working immediately, hitting the ground running, trying to build and provide more services with these dollars,” she said.
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