From the Board Co-Chairs and Executive Director
Dear Friends of Avalon,
After 35 years as the only sexual assault centre in the Halifax region, we continue to provide confidential and non-judgemental services and support to victims/survivors of sexualized violence. By continuing to consult with clients, community partners and members of the general public, we have evolved our services and best practises to continue to meet needs. We remain committed to addressing sexual assault needs in the Halifax region and it is this commitment that has led us to this moment: at the end of fiscal year 2016/17, Avalon launched a three-year strategic plan to enhance our stability, sustainability and growth. While continued and new financial supports have enhanced stability and short-term sustainability, we still face challenges in achieving long-term financial and organizational sustainability and growth. We have been able to improve program and service delivery, but we continue to experience higher than average increases in requests for all of our programs and services, and this stretches our capacity and resources. We continue to work with funding partners to address this.
The increased awareness of the prevalence and severity of sexualized violence and abuse has created a cultural shift that makes survivors feel more supported and validated, and has empowered more people to speak out, access services, and demand accountability, justice, and action. This has been an impetus for Avalon Centre to seek external input and challenge ourselves and our community partners on what needs to be done to achieve intersectional systemic and social change that is anti-oppressive and inclusive. We are also looking internally at what we need to do as an organization to enhance staff retention and professional development, and to continue to become more inclusive and a safer space.
As we move into a new fiscal year, we are assessing how we can best continue to serve and support our community and clients, and remain strong and effective models, leaders, and partners. We continue to explore innovative, responsible and strategic ways to build on our strengths and specializations to do what we do more effectively.
We extend gratitude and appreciation to board members, staff, on call SANEs, students and volunteers; our funding and community partners; clients and other survivors and community members; as well as our Friends of Avalon. You shape and influence our work, and we value your shared advocacy, leadership, and ally-ship. Avalon Centre commends survivors, community members, and other social justice activists who this year demonstrated courage, inspiration, and bravery to support empowerment and intersectionality, end silence and compliance, to engage and mobilize, and to demand accountability from perpetrators of sexualized violence/abuse, other forms of oppression, and systemic failure. We stand with you, and with those who still remain silent. We believe you; we work for change with you.