A Message from Jackie Stevens

Avalon Needs Your Help to Continue Supporting Sexual Assault Survivors

Survivors of sexualized violence and abuse can experience trauma, stigma and discrimination. Sometimes they need access to specialized counselling and support services like those at Avalon Sexual Assault Centre.

After accessing Avalon Sexual Assault Centre’s services, a client told us, “I strongly believe that I am alive today because of Avalon. The people I met here, the services I got here, the support and the safety, it saved my life.”

Our clients include hundreds of women and trans people who have experienced sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse in Nova Scotia—a province with one of the highest rates of sexualized violence per capita in the country. Nova Scotia also has some of the lowest reporting, charge, and conviction rates of sexual assault in Canada.

The Avalon Sexual Assault Centre in Halifax provides prevention education, medical intervention and forensic evidence collection after an immediate sexual assault to all ages/all genders. We also provide trauma-specific therapeutic counselling services to women and trans people 16 and older who have experienced recent or past sexualized violence/abuse. The Avalon Sexual Assault Centre is the only centre of its kind in Halifax and one of three in Nova Scotia.

Recently, demand for our services has increased. Since the Jian Ghomeshi verdict last month, Avalon has responded to a further increase in demand for services from the community. Other stories in the news, including the four-year anniversary of Rehtaeh Parsons’s death, have also caused people to request services. Our current funding does not allow us to meet this high demand.

Avalon is currently seeking more long-term, sustainable funding from government, and also support from corporate donors. At the same time, Avalon is turning to the community for donations. Avalon launched a month-long crowdfunding campaign on April 25 during Sexual Assault Awareness Month to raise $10,000 for prevention, intervention, and support services.

People have asked us: “What can I do to help?” By supporting the crowdfunding campaign, you can help Avalon support healing, empowerment, awareness and prevention.

We are reaching out to the public now to help us sustain our specialized trauma informed and specific prevention and support services.

At Avalon, we believe survivors and encourage them to seek help. Now, we need help. Donations will directly help those in crisis and limit serious, long-term trauma effects for people who have been victimized.

We will always put the needs of survivors first. We will continue providing services to survivors based on their individual needs. This campaign will help us to better respond to people who may currently have limited access to support and services after sexual assault/abuse has occurred. You can help us prevent people committing sexual assault and abuse by donating to our prevention and awareness initiatives.

More and more community members are demonstrating that they believe in and stand up for survivors and the importance of sexual assault services. If you think sexual assault services need to be more available and accessible, please show your support by contributing to the crowdfunding campaign at www.youcaring.com/Avalon.

It starts with believing. We thank you for your assistance and action.

Jackie Stevens
Executive Director, Avalon Sexual Assault Centre