Volunteers of CASASC’s text/webchat crisis line win Community Builder Award

Recognized for making a lasting difference in community, the volunteers of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre (CASASC)’s 24 Hour Text and Webchat Sexual Assault Crisis Line received the Community Builder Award.

Volunteers accepted the Red Deer Mayor’s Recognition Award on the evening of June 6 at the Cambridge Hotel.

CASASC Volunteer Coordinator Michele Kercher and CASASC Volunteer Board Member Matthew Mowbrey accepted the award from Mayor Tara Veer on stage on behalf of the 70 plus volunteers.

CASASC introduced the provincially-available 24 hour text and webchat line in May 2016. The addition to the 24 hour crisis phone line was introduced due to a missing need within the community.

The Mayor’s Recognition Awards recognize Red Deer individuals, groups or teams who have brought honour and recognition to Red Deer in one of five categories. Award recipients are selected by the Mayor’s Recognition Awards Committee, with the exception of the Mayor’s Special Award recipient, who is chosen by the Mayor herself.

Since the launch of the text/webchat line, hundreds of individuals have contacted the crisis line from across the province.The line is open to anyone affected by sexual violence.

The phone line, along with the text/webchat crisis line, are run by the volunteer coordinator and are supported by over 70 volunteers. Typically, there are over 120 text/webchat shifts to fill each month so those accessing the crisis line can speak/have contact with someone no matter the time of day. Without the volunteers taking these shifts, the text/webchat line would be unable to operate 24 hours-a-day, year round.

In 2018, volunteer responded to 220 text/webchat contacts with individuals across Alberta.

From inception (May 2016 to December 2018) volunteers have assisted 653 individuals in the province. The need for this service only increases.