Contest Alert: Win a trip to Panama


Want to win a 12-day educational adventure to Central America?

Join the Go Across Travel campaign to raise funds for CASASC and the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre (CACAC). Together we are aiming to raise funds towards a child trauma centre in Red Deer.

The contest opens on May 30th and you will have two months to raise as many funds as you can. It is open to young adults age 14 to 26.

Go Across Travel’s goal is to bring people together for the common good. They believe strongly in the philosophy of thinking beyond yourself, not only on your needs but of the needs of those less fortunate than you.

For contest details visit:



TELUS supports No Secrets education program


The Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) recently received a donation from the TELUS Payday Lottery Committee for the No Secrets education program.

CASASC Executive Director Patricia Arango (left) accepted the $5,000 donation from TELUS Representative Marlene Duce (right) on April 13.

No Secrets is a personal safety program for children ages 5 to 9 with a focus on child sexual abuse prevention. No Secrets provides a forum from which children can discuss safe and unsafe touching, body parts including private areas, feelings and who you can tell.

The donation to the Kindergarten to Grade 4 sexual violence prevention program will be used towards program materials.

CASASC awarded with Inspiration Award


The Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) is the recipient of a provincial award recognizing leadership in sexual violence prevention.

CASASC team members attended the Inspiration Awards ceremony for Edmonton, central and northern Alberta at Government House in Edmonton on April 4.

A total of nine Inspiration Awards were presented by the Ministry of Community and Social Services to individuals and groups who demonstrated excellence in the areas of public education on healthy relationships, working across sectors to address violence and partnering with Alberta’s diverse communities.

The awards were presented by Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services and Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr was also in attendance.

CASASC received its’ group leadership award for offering innovative and comprehensive programs and services.

“They educate, support and empower individuals, families and communities regarding all aspects of sexual abuse and sexual assault,” said Ken Dropko, Executive Director of Family and Community Services in the Ministry of Community and Social Services during the ceremony. “They have created quality education programs, Culture of Respect principles with the IRespect campaign, and the Family Intervention Program. Other services include their one-on-one, group, pet and play therapy, the 24 Hour Crisis Line for Web/Text/Phone and the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).”

CASASC volunteer, educator and SART member Shalea Harder-Mah also received an Inspiration Award for leadership in sexual violence prevention – emerging excellence.

Harder-Mah was recognized for her passion in helping other affected by sexual violence.

“Shalea started the first Red Deer College Sexual Assault and Abuse Awareness Group and has managed the group ever since,” said Dropko. “In 2016, the group received special recognition from the Student’s Association of Red Deer College for their work…Shalea volunteers for several other crime prevention organizations and believes in building healthy and positive relationships.”

Other award recipients on April 4 included the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre, the Cold Lake High School’s Best Buddies program and Fossey, the Zebra Child Protection Centre service dog.

“Albertans have always stood up for their neighbours and worked together to support those in need,” said Sabir. “The Inspiration Awards recognize community leaders who set an extraordinary example to support those affected by violence and abuse. These awards are a way our government can say thank you for their efforts to make life better for all Albertans.”



This Is What I Was Wearing When It Happened


In recognition of International Women’s Day, the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) and two third-year BScN students of RDC partnered together for This is What I Was Wearing When It Happened, a reflection event.

The thought provoking exhibit was held on March 8 at the Forum in Red Deer College.

The purpose of this reflection event was to bring awareness to the issue of victim blaming and the stigma surrounding women’s clothing as the reason why they were sexually assaulted.

The exhibit featured five live mannequins wearing various types of clothing victims were wearing at the time they were assaulted. This was meant to be a real life representation, a visual way to bring awareness around the still existing stigma.

This was the second year for the reflection event on International Women’s Day. Last year’s event at Parkland Mall featured over 300 pairs of shoes, each representing an Alberta woman who was missing or murdered. The shoe exhibit encouraged people to reflect on the lives of those women.





Alberta Government announces more funding for sexual assault support centres


The Alberta Government is expanding front-line services across the province with a $8.1 million investment in the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS), to ensure survivors who take the brave step to come forward have the supports they need.

This funding announcement was made on March 7 in Edmonton.

As part of the AASAS membership, the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre will be one of the centres receiving increased funding.

Across the province, sexual assault centres and law enforcement are reporting increased demand for counselling services. The government-funded AASAS #IBelieveYou campaign against the backdrop of the global #MeToo movement, are starting to help survivors feel safe about reaching out for help.

“Courageous women in Alberta and around the world are finally breaking their silence and sharing their stories of sexual assault and harassment,” said Status of Women Minister Stephanie McLean. “We hear them and we stand with them. Today, we are taking action – funding more counselling and helping people navigate the court and police systems so all survivors are supported on their healing journey.”

AASAS will use the money for ongoing funding of front-line services, including expanding crisis response and greater use of specialized police and court support workers. The funding is from Community and Social Services, Health, and Justice and Solicitor General.
“As a government, we owe it to survivors to take every step necessary to ensure they have the supports they need when they come forward,” said Minister of Community and Social Services Irfan Sabir. “This funding continues our government’s commitment to provide supports for survivors as well as tools for sexual assault prevention and education.”
The funding is additional to the almost $44 million invested since 2015 to support a wide range of programs and services to prevent sexual violence and support survivors in communities across Alberta.
“These funds will have a tremendous impact on the lives of survivors,” said AASAS CEO Deb Tomlinson. “They will not only address the 53 per cent increase in new counselling clients and unprecedented wait lists our member agencies faced, but will allow us to provide specialized services to rural areas of Alberta.”
AASAS will also hire more staff in seven under-served communities so survivors in those regions get the support they need close to home.
Sexual violence refers to any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. Government works across ten ministries with agencies and community organizations across the province to prevent sexual violence, support survivors and ensure the social, justice, health and educational systems respond to survivors.

Funding details:

  • $6.225 million from Community and Social Services (CSS), for increased counselling, outreach and education services, and to develop a Collaborative Community Response Model targeting seven underserved regions in the province:
    • North West – High Level, High Prairie, Peavine, Rainbow Lake, Fort Vermillion;
    • North East – Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay, Janvier;
    • North Central – Wabasca, Slave Lake, Athabasca;
    • Central West – Hinton, Jasper, Edson;
    • Central East – Bonnyville, Cold Lake, St. Paul, Lac La Biche;
    • Bow Valley – Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise; and
    • South West – Lethbridge, Cardston, Taber, Pincher Creek
  • $750,000 from Health for specialized counselling and expanded services.
  • $1.09 million from Justice and Solicitor General to enhance police and court support services.

Gender differences on display in white board exercise

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Men are from Mars, women are from Venus, or so the saying goes. But are we really that different? When it comes to safety, the precautions women take to be safe after a fun night out are completely different than men.

This is what two Red Deer College (RDC) third-year BScN students found out after hosting an information and white board exercise at The Forum in RDC on January 30, 2018.

The purpose of the exercise was to raise awareness between the existing gender differences on what people do each and every day to stay safe.

There was great student participation during the white board exercise, said the two RDC students. The exercise allowed the pair to work within the student population, gather data, have meaningful discussions and bring awareness to issues surrounding sexual assault.

Female students indicated they do things like lock their doors, keep their cellphone available, “avoid dark alleys” and “don’t wear revealing clothing,” to be safe. Male students wrote things like use an uber or cab and “appear approachable.”

This event was a precursor to a reflection event planned for International Women’s Day also to be held at RDC. The This is What I Was Wearing When It Happened exhibit will bring awareness to the issue of victim blaming and the stigma surrounding women’s clothing as the reason why they were sexually assaulted.

RDC and CACAC solidify partnership – Supporting Central Alberta Families


Red Deer College (RDC) and the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre (CACAC) have solidified their goal of working together in the future.

RDC, CACAC, board members, representatives, key partners and guests attended the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on February. 8 at the Red Deer College Arts Centre.

This agreement states the CACAC and RDC will be exploring opportunities together in the future. RDC President Joel Ward and CACAC CEO Mark Jones alluded to these opportunities potentially including a child advocacy centre on campus and future post-secondary training, professional development and practicum placements.

The CACAC has been working in partnership with the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) as a key partner for the past year. The CACAC opened their doors on November 29, 2017 and have already seen 40 cases. Other key partners with the CACAC include the RCMP, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Justice and Alberta Education.

This partnership shows commitment to exploring opportunities in Central Alberta which benefit children and families.

Thoughtful Films at Red Deer Justice Film Festival


The 10th annual Red Deer Justice Film Festival (RDJFF) was held from January 25 to 27. The festival was held at the Welikolad Event Centre and showcased 12 films.

RDJFF is a non-profit event run through sponsorship and donations. It is also free to the public. The vision of the festival is promote awareness of global issues and activate our community through documentary films exploring a range of diverse topics, groups, and perspectives.

RDJFF also hosts a NGO Village where several non-profits set up booths in the theatre lobby to share information. CASASC was in attendance in the village for all three days, providing information to attendees and creating awareness of the issue of sexual assault.


Are You SEXcessful? shines light on importance of sexual health


Sexual health was the topic last Friday at Are You SEXcessful? a guidance event at Red Deer College (RDC).

Organized by two RDC students with the support of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC) and the RDC Students’ Association, the purpose of the event was to create awareness around sexual health including illness prevention, safer sexual behaviours and cultural factors. The organizers’ goal was to prevent negative outcomes surrounding sexuality before they are initiated.

Attendees perused the booths of several community partners who were handed out information on consent, positive relationships, mens sexual health, contraception, pregnancy and sexual and gender diversity.

The event positively showcased sexual health from numerous perspectives. Feedback from students and faculty was encouraging.

This is the second year for the health promotion and prevention project between the three organizers. Last year’s event was titled GreyDay and centred on the concept of consent. This year CASASC focused on creating a culture of respect.



2017 Front Line Service Awards


The CASASC team attended the 2017 Front Line Service Providers’ Awards on Nov. 1 at the Holiday Inn & Suites on Gasoline Alley.

The 13th annual awards ceremony, hosted by the Domestic and Relationship Violence Committee (DRVIC), is a time for front line service providers to come together to recognize each other and the meaningful work being done within these communities.

Outreach counsellor Alma Garbe was nominated for a Front Line Service Providers’ Award for her work in bridging Indigenous communities.

Executive Director Patricia Arango was nominated for the Patrick Dillon Leadership Award for her development of the #iRespect campaign.

CASASC would like to congratulate all of the nominees and recipients at this year’s award ceremony.