In the run-up to the province’s May 30 election, Avalon Sexual Assault Centre (Avalon) is calling on candidates to continue addressing sexualized violence in Nova Scotia.
“We want to make sure that whoever is elected is committed to ensuring that victims of sexualized violence have the support and help they need province wide,” says Jackie Stevens, executive director of Avalon.
Sexual assault levels in Nova Scotia are significantly higher than the national average. Additionally, high-profile cases in the news have contributed to a sharp increase in demand for Avalon’s services, and without adequate resources Avalon is unable to fulfill its mandate of not only offering trauma-informed therapeutic counselling and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program, but also community education, and legal and professional training. Currently there is a minimum six-month wait list for new clients seeking counselling support at Avalon, and requests for services overall exceed capacity. To respond, Avalon is enlisting the help of all citizens concerned about sexualized violence.
“Sexualized violence impacts everyone in our province: not only victims but their friends, families, co-workers and communities, too,” says Stevens. “We all need to stand together.”
The community has identified sexualized violence as an important issue. Avalon encourages people to consider asking their local candidates to articulate their plans. A suggested list of questions is available on Avalon’s website. Included with this press release is an additional list of more detailed questions. Avalon encourages people to ask the part candidates in their ridings whether their party will commit to adequately funding the province’s three existing sexual assault centres (including Avalon) so these centres can provide support and counselling services to survivors in a trauma-informed way, as well as supporting the implementation and further development of new sexual assault services across the province.
“We can and must make this an election issue, but we all need to raise our voices,” says Stevens.
Avalon is proud to work with and advocate for victims/survivors of sexualized violence. Avalon would like to continue doing its important work within the framework of a clearly mandated commitment from a government that ensures its long-term sustainability.
Source: Media Release