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Avalon seeks commitm­ent from candidates to address sexualized violence

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.

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Source: Media Release

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