A Brief History of the PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre
This information was taken from a “History of the PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis Centre”, written by Lyle Brehaut, the Organizational Coordinator of the Centre from 1982 until her retirement in 1997.
* Click on the "Read Full Story" link for any of the following years to view all of the information listed.
Four women met and discussed their distress over a recent gang rape of an Island woman. They wondered where she would find the support needed.
Four women met and discussed their distress over a recent gang rape of an Island woman. They wondered where she would find the support needed. They found out that there were no statistics about the actual occurrence of rape on the Island, but began hearing more and more stories about sexual assault and abuse of children. This group of four became a coordinating committee. They educated themselves, and held the first training program for volunteers of a 24 hour crisis line.
The committee recognized that they needed to hire a coordinator.
The committee recognized that they needed to hire a coordinator. They received moneys from the Department of Secretary of State’s Women’s Program, allowing them to hire a part-time coordinator and to cover some operational expenses.
Through funding from the Department of Justice, the Centre hired a researcher to learn more about the level of awareness of the PEI professional community on the subject of sexual assault and abuse, and to gather statistical information on court cases involving sexual violence.
Through funding from the Department of Justice, the Centre hired a researcher to learn more about the level of awareness of the PEI professional community on the subject of sexual assault and abuse, and to gather statistical information on court cases involving sexual violence. The researcher found that there was little awareness of the extent and impact of the crime, although the research process was useful in raising awareness. They also learned more about how the legal system worked, and it became apparent that many changes were necessary in the system’s approach to rape and in the public attitude towards its victims.
The PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre became incorporated. The original coordinating committee was dissolved, and the first board of directors was elected. The Centre’s mandate was to give information and support to victims of sexual assault and to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and to advocate on their behalf; and to inform the public of the prevalence and consequence of sexual violence on PEI and to demonstrate how public attitude, both personal and systemic, contributes to, and indeed fosters, such criminal behaviour.
Through the following years, the Centre staff and volunteers continued to respond to survivors of assault and abuse through the 24 hour crisis telephone service and other counseling services, advocated for the needs of survivors and addressed groups about the impact of sexual assault. The following is a list of some of the highlights:
The organization accomplished the following to help bring awareness to the survivors of rape and sexual assault.
• Hosted an Atlantic Conference of Rape Crisis Centres.
• Co-organized a two day workshop “Making the Connections”.
• TheOrganized the first annual PEI “Take Back the Night” march.
In these following years the association continued to grow the awareness of sexual abuse province wide through workshops, and support groups.
• Hosted a three day workshop “Working with Victims and Survivors of Incest”.
• Began a support group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
• Operational funding through the Department of the Secretary of State was no longer available, although project money could be obtained. The PEI provincial government agreed to provide operating expenses.
With the funding provided by the provincial government, the PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre was able to continue to grow their services and promote their programs.
• Formed a support group for victims of sexual assault.
• Toll free service for crisis line was started.
• Created more brochures.
• Held several support groups for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Newly developed projects helped to bring attention of sexual abuse to parents of school aged children, as well as workshop panels.
• Established therapy groups for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
• Launched a new logo, designed by artist Wendy Frith.
• Developed two projects funded by Secretary of State. One project enabled a person to visit home and school associations with the workshop “Sexual Abuse Information to Parents of School Age Children”.
• Another project organized two evening workshop panels, cosponsored by the Interagency Committee on Domestic Violence called “Twice Victim”. The panels included a crown prosecutor and local judge, who publicly discussed the devastating effect of the court system on victims and the need for change in the legal system.
Hosted a series of workshops with Shirley Turcotte, creator of the NFB film “To a Safer Place”, an award winning documentary about her years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse in childhood.
• Hosted a series of workshops with Shirley Turcotte, creator of the NFB film “To a Safer Place”, an award winning documentary about her years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse in childhood.
• Created “Believe Her: A Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse of Women and Children”, contracted by the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, written by Lyle Brehaut, edited by Ruth Freeman.
• Additional funding was received by the provincial Department of Health and Social Services to enable the Centre to hire a therapist.
• Helped start a sister group, Services for Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse (SAS), an organization whose dream was to provide a house for adult women survivors and their children, where they could participate in therapy in a safe and supported environment.
As the centre continued to grow the staff attended national conferences and hosted workshops within the province.
• Participated in a national conference on recommendations for changes in the Rape Shield Law, Bill C-49.
• Co-hosted a workshop with the Interagency Committee on Domestic Violence and the Community Legal Information Association (CLIA) on “Abused Children in Court – Who Speaks for Them”.
The PEIRSAC began their annual charity Colf Tournament against assault.
• Participated in the Child Sexual Abuse Project, which resulted in the formation of the Provincial Child Sexual Abuse Rural Intervention Model and the on-going Child Sexual Abuse Advisory Committee.
• Began an annual fundraising tournament, Golf Against Assault.
Volunteers were overwhelmed with the number of public presentations, workshops and group work they were doing.
Volunteers were overwhelmed with the number of public presentations, workshops and group work they were doing. The PEI government, under Premier Catherine Callbeck, promised money for five years to address family violence in our communities. A group, the Premier’s Action Committee on Family Violence (PAC) was formed. This group allocated money to the Centre, which meant being able to hire another full-time therapist.
The PEIRSAC reloacted to the present location downtown Charlottetown.
• Relocated to present location.
• Evaluation of the Centre done by Department of Health and Social Services.
A Needs Assessment for the PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre was done by the Cooper Institute.
A Needs Assessment for the PEI Rape and Sexual Assault Centre was done by the Cooper Institute.
Funding was received from the Victims of Crime Fund to explore current research.
Funding was received from the Victims of Crime Fund to explore current research about the ways that the brain stores memories of trauma, in order to better inform the legal system and its standards of practice for all survivors of violence. The result was a publication, “Memory of Trauma and its Implications for the Criminal Justice System”.
The PEIRSAC hosted a major conference for professionals on the topic of the Treatment of Trauma.
Hosted a major conference for professionals with guest speaker Dr. John Briere, entitled “New Directions in the Treatment of Trauma”.
The Centre acquired additional funding to expand their therapy resources.
• Moneys from the provincial government were increased to hire another therapist to provide services in West Prince.
• A training manual for volunteers was completed.
The PEIRSAC has continued to grow their reputation and vision.
• The Centre went through a review process, including a re-visioning of mission, outcomes and governance.
• A new logo and web site was created for the Centre by Fresh Media.
• Hosted a second conference with Dr. John Briere, “Reconsidering Trauma: Treatment Advances, Relational Issues and Mindfulness in Integrated Trauma Therapy”.
We hosted a conference on trauma June 24 - 26.
Presenters included Dr. Cheryl Lanktree and Dr John Briere.
We received funding from Status of Women Canada for a three year project entitled "Supporting, Training and Enhancing Poblem Solving Skills for Women" (STEPS for Women). Twenty-four women from various organizations working with women will take part. Working in collaboration with the Centre for Conflict Resolution Studies, participants will be trained in problem solving skills and will each conduct a project for their organization.
We received a grant from the Canadian Women's Foundation to conduct group sessions for teen girls on healthy relationships.
We organized a presentation of the Voices and Faces Project.
The Voices and Faces Project is a documentary presentation which includes the stories and photographs of victims of sexual violence.
In May we sponsored a workshop for male survivors, facilitated by Mike Lew.
We hosted a conference on complex trauma featuring Dr. Christine Courtois, June 9th and 10th.
On July 1st, 2011, we ended the after hours telephone service. We continue to provide support and information through our main office line, and focus on providing professionally led therapeutic services.
We received a grant from the Department of Justice Canada to conduct an assessment of the needs of male survivors of sexual abuse in P.E.I.
Findings from our needs assessment on male survivors highlighted the following themes:
- the need for more awareness raising and public education about the realities and consequences of male sexual victimization, in order to help break down stigma and shame
- the need for more service provider training about male sexual victimization in order to facilitate healing
- the need for more specialized services for male survivors
Received a grant from Department of Justice Canada to host a two day conference for service providers entitled "From Conceptualization to Engagement: A Two Day Conference on Male Sexual Victimization
Received a grant from Status of Women Canada, in partnership with Women's Network, for a two year project "Preventing and Responding to Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls Thropugh Access to Community Services."
October, 2014 - a three day training for a small group of facilitators, to develop skills in delivering group programming for male survivors
January - organized an evening workshop entitled "Beyond Jian" - a community conversation about sexual assault and harassment
February - May - first ten week "Men Matter" group program for male survivors
April - hosted The Voices and Faces Project. Activities included:
- a two day "Stories we Tell" writing workshop for female and male survivors of sexual and family violence
- a public lecture by Anne Ream based on her book "Lived Thropugh This"
- a workshop by R Clifton Spargo called "Language, Culture and Change"
May 2016 - Organized a conference "Emerging and Contemporary Issues in Sexual Violence". Speakers included Cordelia Anderson who presented on youth and our pornified culture, and how to help youth establish healthy and caring relationships; Lori Haskell on the impacts of trauma and implications for the criminal justice system; Verona Singer and Sgt Sarah Drummond on trauma informed police training.