The inception of the PEI Rape & Sexual Assault Centre dates back to September 1981 when four women met for lunch to discuss their concerns and distress surrounding the recent gang rape of a young Prince Edward Island girl. At the time there was no Rape Crisis Centre on PEI, and the women wondered where this girl and others would find support to deal with assault, find justice, and work toward healing.
Sigrid Rolfe, Organizational Coordinator
Eileen Conboy, Therapist
Lorna Gallant, Therapist
Pam Martin, Therapist
Melissa Coffin, Chair
Emily Ferguson; Ellie Reddin; Marie Keenan Doyle; Kevin Walker; Chris Doiron; Gladys Kickham
Over the next several months, these concerned women tried to find information on how often rape happened on PEI and if this gang rape was simply an unusual occurrence unlikely to happen again. They found out a number of things.
Firstly, there were no statistics on the subject. Secondly, the process of following an initial police report through to the final sentencing of rapists was a monumental, if not impossible task; and thirdly, people they did not even know were calling them, telling their stories of abuse and asking for help. The women discovered that the rape of young girls and women by acquaintances constituted the majority of reported cases. As in the rest of Canada, sexual abuse, molestation, and the rape of young children was widespread on PEI. The need for a rape crisis centre was overwhelming.
The initial group of four women included Lyle Brehaut, Dr. Betsey Epperly, Maureen Hutcheson, and Mary Cameron. They were soon joined by Maureen Malloy and Margaret Hurley. They traveled to crisis centres across Canada, gathering information and material. They took a crash course from the Fredericton Rape Crisis Centre, advertised for volunteers, screened the applicants, had their first 12 week training session, and in April of 1983, opened a 24 hour telephone crisis line staffed by volunteers. The volunteers have changed over the years, but the line has been consistently maintained.
In the same year, the PEI Rape & Sexual Assault Centre became a formal organization when it became incorporated under the PEI Companies Act. The first annual meeting was held, and Nadine Smith was elected as the first President of the Board of Directors. Through funds provided by the Secretary of State Women’s programs, a part-time coordinator was hired.
In 1985, the Centre hired a part-time therapist to provide specialized therapy for survivors of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse. In 1986, the Centre began offering the first support groups for adult survivors. The therapist position became full-time in 1990, as the demand for therapy increased and funding sources were secured.
In 1995, the PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre was identified in the PEI Family Violence Prevention Strategy as needing increased resources to offer its therapy program to more survivors. Increased funding through the Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence Prevention allowed the centre to hire two part-time therapists to join the existing staff. This then became one full-time position. Now we have two full-time and two part-time therapists and a full-time organizational coordinator based in Charlottetown. One of our therapists travels one day a week to Summerside and West Prince to provide therapy to our clients in these areas.
Our vision is a community where all people feel safe and are free from sexual abuse and assault.
The mission of the PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre is to support survivors of sexual assault and abuse in their healing and to ensure that all people living in PEI are safe from sexual violence. In achieving this mission we work collaboratively with, and in ways that empower, individuals and organizations.
We believe that:
How are we Funded?
- Prevention of sexual abuse is everyone's responsibility. The community has a responsibility to support survivors in their healing and to work towards ending sexual violence.
- Sexual assault and sexual abuse are crimes that involve control and power.
- Survivors have the right to receive the support they need to heal from abuse.
- The trauma of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse can severely impact the quality of life for
- Ensuring confidentiality and respecting the choices of survivors are top priorities.
- Healing that results in long term enhanced quality of life takes time.
- The impacts of sexual assault and childhood abuse permeate all of society.
- All survivors deserve access to services.
- Sexual violence will continue until the root causes of violence against women and children are addressed.
- Working collaboratively with the community is essential to address the needs of survivors.
We are a non-profit organization that receives funding from the PEI Provincial Government. We also depend on donations from organizations and individuals and through fundraising efforts to help cover all of our operating expenses. At present our major fundraising events include the Golf Against Assault Tournament and hosting trauma related conferences.
Our Commitment to Privacy and Confidentiality
Our commitment to privacy and confidentiality is a key cornerstone to the PEI Rape & Sexual Assault Center and we deem to be a crucial component to our therapeutic relationships with our clients. We never disclose who is on our wait list or obtaining our services. We never release confidential information about our clients without their written informed consent.
Our Annual General Meeting will be held on June 24th at the Haviland Club. Stay tuned for more details.Read More >
“The RESPECT Project – Responding to and Preventing Sexual Violence in PEI”
The on line survey about sexual violence in PEI is now closed. We thank everyone who took time to participate. A report of the findings can be found under "Resources".
Read more about the project. Read More >
Men Matter: Group Programs for Male Survivors
A free service for men who are on a journey of recovery from sexual abuse. Read More >
Main Office 566.1864
Therapy Line 902.368.8055