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CASASC awarded with Inspiration Award

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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.”

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Alberta Government announces more funding for sexual assault support centres

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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.