Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS) Monthly E-Newsflash – February 2016

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AASAS members provided counseling to nearly 1000 children and youth affected by sexual abuse in the past year

For over forty years sexual assault services under the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services have been providing a continuum of specialized supports and services to people of all ages, gender and ethno cultural backgrounds, who have been impacted by sexual assault and sexual abuse.

Contrary to popular belief, sexual abuse of children and teens is not rare and can happen to anyone regardless of income level, ethnic heritage, gender, ability, sexual orientation, culture or religion. It can happen to any family and occurs more than we would like to think.


Fortunately, children and teens can recover from sexual abuse and assault with the support of family, friends and community. Children and youth are resilient and can heal.  Just in the 2014/2015 reporting year, AASAS Member services provided specialized counseling services to nearly 1000 children and youth.  Sexual abuse also impacts the family and friends of those who have survived it. After a child discloses, those around them may find themselves in crisis and our Member services also support people affected by the abuse of children in their lives.


To increase awareness of child sexual abuse services in Alberta, over the next few months the AASAS monthly newsflash will include a feature of the child sexual abuse treatment programs of each of our Member services. Stay tuned!

Medicine Hat launches Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)


—Collaborative effort provides crucial support to survivors of sexual assault—


Survivors of sexual assault can expect to receive a coordinated and collaborative response when they seek support from agencies in Medicine Hat. Facilitated by the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS), a year-long planning and implementation process involving government agencies, hospital, police and community-based services developed a ‘made in Medicine Hat’ Sexual Assault Response Team. Funded by Status of Women Canada and the Government of Alberta, this team is one of 5 new SART’s (Sexual Assault Response Team) in the province of Alberta as part of a federal-provincial initiative.


“Medicine Hat was one of the first communities to respond to this initiative, replying within hours of the call for interested communities” says Barbara Hagen, Collaborative Community Response Coordinator at AASAS. “Over a period of years, discussions had been occurring in Medicine Hat about the feasibility of creating a Sexual Assault Response Team. The commitment of the agencies involved supported solidifying a team at this point in time.”

Hagen added that this initiative did not inject new programs or staff into the community. “AASAS supported the SART development by sharing promising practices, facilitating the process and providing specialized training and sustainability resources,” she says. “Every community determines the scope and direction of their model, their ownership and investment in the creation of their SART increases long term sustainability.”


Within this project, 5 new teams are being supported across the province. In addition to the team in Medicine Hat, three other communities are hoping to launch their SART’s this year. Fort McMurray launched their team in December and the communities of Lloydminster, Grande Prairie and Rocky Mountain House are also participating in the project. Just as the existing SART’s in Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary and Lethbridge all operate from different models, each new SART will reflect the unique needs and capabilities within their communities.


The participating agencies in Medicine Hat worked with AASAS to develop collaborative working guidelines, provide input into the development of key resources and attend specialized sexual assault training. Primary sexual assault responders from the Medicine Hat Police Service, Redcliff RCMP, the Emergency Department at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital, Medicine Hat Victim Assistance Unit, Redcliff Victims Services Unit, Addictions and Mental Health, Child and Family Services, Sexual Health Clinic, Crown Prosecutor’s office and the Sexual Assault Response Committee (SARC) championed this initiative from start to finish. Moving forward, they will continue to evaluate and refine their responses to survivors of sexual assault and hope to collaborate with other SART’s in Alberta.


Additional information:


102.1 CJCY: Local Sexual Assault Response Team Launches

Medicine Hat News: Medicine Hat launches sexual assault response team


First Responder to Sexual Assault and Abuse Training – Upcoming Trainings


First Responder to Sexual Assault and Abuse Training is a 2 day workshop that will provide participants with education and skill development in the following areas:

  • Definitions, myths & laws about the various types of sexual abuse & sexual assault – child sexual abuse, responding to adults who were sexually abused as children, sexual harassment and sexual assault
  • Training in immediate & long term impacts of sexual abuse & sexual assault
  • Teaches skills to respond to disclosures of sexual abuse & sexual assault

This training is intended to build the capacity of professionals, paraprofessionals and community members to assess and respond effectively to disclosures of sexual assault and sexual abuse. Survivors who receive safe and supportive responses to disclosures of sexual violence are more likely to reach out for help from medical and counselling services and/or report to police. First Responder to Sexual Assault and Abuse Training is a comprehensive two day training, inclusive of the full continuum of sexual violence and across the lifespan.

Upcoming Trainings

Feb. 9 - 10, 2016 - Camrose

Feb. 11 - 12, 2016 - Calgary

Feb. 11 - 12, 2016 - Medicine Hat

Mar. 3 - 4, 2016 - Edmonton

Mar. 19 - 20, 2016 - Grande Prairie

Mar. 21 – 22, 2016 Bonnyville

April 14-15, 2016 Brooks

April 28 – 29, 2016 – Lethbridge

June 2016 - Olds

For information and register click here.



Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton: We Believe Gala

Copyright © 2016 AASAS, All rights reserved.

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