Nearly 9,000 telephone interventions in the shadows

·3 min read

Imagine our impact once you shine a spotlight on us

MONTREAL, Oct. 21, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ - Deborah Trent, director of the Montreal Sexual Assault Centre (MSAC), announces the official launch of the new identity of SEXUAL VIOLENCE HELPLINE/INFO-AIDE VIOLENCE SEXUELLE, the Quebec-wide referral service for victims of sexual violence. Previously known as the "Provincial Helpline for Victims of Sexual Assault," the Sexual Violence Helpline is managed by the MSAC and has been operating 24/7 for more than 10 years thanks to a partnership with the Ministère de la Justice du Québec. This renaming emphasizes the fact that the helpline provides assistance to people affected by all forms of sexual violence.

Sexual Violence Helpline logo (CNW Group/Centre pour les victimes d'agression sexuelle de Montréal)
Sexual Violence Helpline logo (CNW Group/Centre pour les victimes d'agression sexuelle de Montréal)

Every victim of sexual violence, no matter what form it takes, is one victim too many. "Did you know that here in Quebec, over 80% of victims know their aggressor? That people in marginalized groups are at a much higher risk of falling victim to sexual violence? That 67% of victims are younger than 18? Reported cases of cyber violence and sexual exploitation have only increased in recent years. Sexual violence is pervasive," Ms. Trent explained. "We were initially mandated to help people who had been sexually assaulted, but we quickly adapted our services to respond to calls related to harassment, cyber violence and particularly sexual exploitation. Having been in operation for over 10 years, our team of telephone counsellors is on the front lines, providing support in both French and English across Quebec. When the need for support arises, whether for sexual violence that occurred recently or in the past, the source for resources is always available," concluded the MSAC's director.

The Sexual Violence Helpline was recognized by the Comité d'experts sur l'accompagnement des personnes victimes d'agressions sexuelles et de violence conjugale (expert committee on support for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence) for its ability to centralize the various existing resources in Quebec. In its report entitled Rebâtir la confiance (rebuilding trust), tabled in December 2020, the committee recommended improvements to the referral services offered by the Sexual Violence Helpline and better promotion of the helpline.

Too many people are still unaware of the existence of this helpline. People from all walks of life, no matter where they are in the province, must have access to support as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The new identity combined with an increased presence in the digital sphere, particularly on social media, will allow more people to find their way to the Sexual Violence Helpline easily when the need arises. The phone number remains unchanged: 1-888-933-9007.

« Le gouvernement met tout en œuvre pour mieux accompagner et mieux soutenir les personnes victimes de violence sexuelle. Les services, comme Info-aide violence sexuelle, jouent un rôle essentiel et contribuent à offrir un filet de sécurité aux personnes victimes. Nous sommes heureux de soutenir cette démarche qui vise à mieux faire connaître leurs services. » annonce Monsieur Simon Jolin-Barrette, ministre de la Justice et procureur général du Québec.

"For us, the issue is not to encourage victims of sexual violence to follow a specific path, but rather to ensure that they are welcomed, listened to and supported every step of the way, no matter what path they choose. To do this, there must be adequate specialized resources and services to serve the entire territory, with particular attention given to the specific needs of marginalized people. To be able to respond in a way that respects the reality of each survivor, collaboration such as that between CALACS and the Sexual Violence Helpline is essential. We are all working towards the same goal: ensuring that no victim of sexual violence gets left behind," concluded Roxanne Ocampo, representative of the Regroupement québécois des CALACS

The last few years have demonstrated beyond any doubt that thousands of people across the province still need support services. Many organizations and specialized services are available to help these individuals regain control of their lives. What we need to do now is promote the Sexual Violence Helpline as the source for resources that can help steer them towards services adapted to their needs.

The team, which is specially trained to work with victims of sexual violence, is made up of nearly 20 counsellors who serve the general public and are capable of meeting new challenges. After more than 10 years of managing the provincial helpline, the MSAC remains firmly committed to its mission of helping all victims of sexual violence in a safe manner by meeting their needs while respecting their choices.

About us:

The Sexual Violence Helpline is a phone line that offers listening, information, support and referral services. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the service is anonymous, confidential, free of charge and bilingual. The helpline is open to ANYONE affected by sexual violence, regardless of age or gender: victims, their loved ones, counsellors, people in doubt, as well as the general public. The service is managed by the MSAC and is mandated and funded by the Ministère de la Justice du Québec.

Additional documents: https://infoaideviolencesexuelle.ca/1/conference-presse

Website: https://sexualviolencehelpline.ca/

Social media: https://www.instagram.com/infoaideviolencesexuelle/

https://www.facebook.com/infoaideviolencesexuelle

SOURCE Centre pour les victimes d'agression sexuelle de Montréal

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