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Premier proclaims May as Sexual Violence Awareness Month

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The provincial government proclaimed May as Sexual Violence Awareness month on May 1, 2018. Action is also being taken provincially to challenge attitudes, promote a culture of consent and raise awareness about sexual violence in Alberta.

To start the month, the province launched a new Commitment to End Sexual Violence. Developed through extensive consultation with dozens of front line providers, advocates and survivors, the commitment brings ten government ministries and community organizations together to deliver a coordinated, province wide response to address sexual violence in Alberta.

“Every Albertan deserves to live free from sexual harassment and assault,” said Premier Rachel Notley. “Sexualized violence is a crime of power and control, and governments have a duty to lead, to offer hope and healing to survivors, to make workplaces and campuses safe and to tackle the inequality at the root of this violence that most impacts women and girls.”

Throughout the month, the government will announce initiatives to support the commitment and build on actions taken to address and prevent sexual harassment and assault.

Since 2015 government has invested close to $52 million to support a range of programs and services to prevent sexual violence and support survivors in communities across Alberta.

“We are pleased to be a partner in the government’s commitment to prevent sexual violence and provide better support to those who are affected,” said Deb Tomlinson, chief executive director of the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services. “Sexual violence is a problem that affects all communities in our province and will require a united effort by government, community organizations and individuals to eliminate.”

Quick Facts:

  • Sexual violence is the most under-reported crime in Canada. Ninety-five per cent of survivors do not report their assaults to police.
  • Sexual violence most often affects women and girls. Eighty-seven per cent of survivors are women and 94 per cent of perpetrators are men.
  • In 2014, 83,000 Albertans reported sexual assaults.
  • Sexual violence is defined as a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent. It can involve physical or non-physical contact, affect all ages and genders, and the person committing the act might be known or be a stranger.

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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