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The Government of Saskatchewan is proclaiming May 11-15 as Sexual Assault Awareness Week and committing to new initiatives to reduce sexual violence and increase support to victims and survivors.
To strengthen the province’s network of services, funding has been committed in 2020-21 to develop a sexual assault examination training program for nurses and care providers in rural, remote and northern communities. The funding will also support the future expansion of coverage at Regina hospital emergency rooms, where nurses with sexual assault examination training will be available round-the-clock.
“Keeping citizens safe and free from violence is very important for government,” Minister responsible for the Status of Women Office Tina Beaudry-Mellor says. “We are working to end the patterns which contribute to sexual assault and violence and look forward to the day when all people are free from the threat of psychological and physical harm.”
Sexual violence education for Saskatchewan justice system professionals is also being developed, along with a province-wide awareness campaign to challenge and change attitudes about sexual violence. These initiatives will augment existing government support for sexual violence programming and awareness, such as the Philadelphia Model partnership with the Regina Police Service, Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan (SASS), and the Regina Sexual Assault Centre launched in 2019.
“There is no place in Saskatchewan for sexual violence and abuse,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Don Morgan says. “This week is an opportunity to renew our commitment to stand up against violence, support survivors and promote healthy and respectful relationships.”
The Government of Saskatchewan will distribute $1.6 million this year to agencies delivering direct support to victims of sexual violence, an increase of nearly 35 per cent from three years ago.
“Sexual Assault Awareness Week highlights an important issue that affects our province greatly,” SASS Executive Director Kerrie Isaac said. “Our member agencies work every day to help survivors get the help they need, and SASS works to increase awareness and action on sexual violence. Our work with government has led to positive change, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate as we all work to make Saskatchewan a safer place for everyone.”
The government further acknowledges the courage shown by survivors, support from their families and friends and tireless efforts by service providers to help all impacted by sexual violence.