‘One-of-a-kind’: Federal minister tours Victoria Sexual Assault Centre

WatchFederal Minister Marci Ien toured the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC) to get a firsthand look of the clinic's wraparound and trauma-informed services. Oli Herrera has more.

A federal minister got a first-hand look at a sexual assault clinic in Victoria.

On Monday, Federal Minister Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth of Canada, toured the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC) to get a firsthand look at the clinic’s wraparound and trauma-informed services.

Ien called the location a “one-of-a-kind” centre for Canada.

“Every single inch of this space is trauma-informed. All of it,” she said on Monday.

Located on Cedar Hill Road in Victoria’s Oaklands neighbourhood, VSAC offers a range of services that includes immediate support for survivors via a sexual assault response team, counselling and victim support services.

Minister Ien said wants to replicate the work done at VSAC to other clinics across the country.

“We need to be doing this in a lot of other places. How can we replicate this? Absolutely, this is something that we will be thinking about,” she said.

Earlier this year, the province announced it would allocate $22 million to restore stable funding to sexual assault response centres, effectively reversing funding cuts made in 2002.

“For a long time, the anti-violence sector services that supported survivors of violence were gutted. They were cut, and centres across the province were putting together what they could from different sources and the reality is that these are essential services,” said Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill.

To date, VSAC has served over 1,000 clients, including 100 in 2021. The centre has received most of its funding from various grants and donations, using those funds and a survivor-first approach to revitalize the clinic.

“The really important thing about this clinic is that it has been designed with survivors in min and survivors at the centre of this experience,” said Carissa Ropponen, the clinic’s manager of resource development and communications.

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