Help for sexual assault victims and support groups now found in one place online
What constitutes sexual assault? Where can you get help if you've been assaulted?
Those are just two of the many questions that can now be answered in Montreal through a new website designed to provide access and resources to those who need it.
At least 182 different groups and organizations work in Montreal and Quebec to assist victims of sexual assault and their families – and they can now all be found in one place online.
Found at www.agressionsexuellemontreal.ca victims and those around them can find a myriad of support. Teachers, counsellors, caregivers, and people in the medical and legal systems can find information on how deal with victims.
“We knew there were services that existed but what we felt was lacking was proper ways to get out this information about services,” said Debbie Trent of the Montreal Sexual Assault Centre.
That first point of contact with victims can be crucial.
“That first, ‘Oh I want to tell this person,’ the response or what comes back to them will really dictate or encourage what comes next,” she said.
The site is not only for professionals, however. Everyone can use it, including victims.
“On the site there is clearly information for victims and where victims can consult and anybody can look at the site and get information about sexual assault,” said Trent.
The website is bilingual and also has videos that include sign language, because it's suspected the rate of sexual assault among the hearing impaired may be high but unreported due to a lack of adapted resources.
As many as 20 groups contributed to the website.
One such group is Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.
“There's a lot of information in Montreal. Some that we were aware of and some that we weren't aware of and we figured if we didn't know there were probably a lot of other centres that also didn't know,” said Yvonne Seguin, who works for the organization.
As young workers join their fields, the website will have the added benefit of passing on all of the past research to a new generation.
“They don't have to start over at zero again. It's a better system to help the clients that are out there,” she said.