News release

Stronger Supports for Survivors of Sexual Violence

The Province is investing $2.8 million in a new trauma therapy program to support Nova Scotians who have been sexually assaulted.

The Avalon Sexual Assault Centre will deliver the new province-wide program, starting in spring 2023. It will provide more consistent and coordinated support through the hiring of 13 more trauma therapists for a total of 24.

“People dealing with the trauma of sexual violence deserve the best therapy we can offer,” said Brian Comer, Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health. “The Avalon Sexual Assault Centre has decades of experience in this field. They are experts, and I know they will do a phenomenal job of implementing a provincial model that addresses the complex needs of survivors and helps them heal.”

The government currently provides funding to seven community organizations across the province to deliver trauma therapy to survivors. The funding and services offered have varied across each organization, resulting in a lack of access for some people, including people with disabilities, members of the 2SLGBTIQA+ community, men, African Nova Scotians and Indigenous survivors.

The current funding and the new investment will be allocated to the new program for a total of $2.8 million annually. The Avalon Sexual Assault Centre will work with existing community organizations to better meet the needs of all survivors.

Quotes:

This new funding agreement will make it possible to more than double the number of provincially funded sexual violence trauma therapists, increasing access to trauma-specific and culturally responsive sexual violence trauma therapy services for all communities in Nova Scotia. This means working collaboratively across sectors to eliminate barriers related to geography and social factors. We are particularly dedicated to alleviating barriers for rural communities, Indigenous communities, African Nova Scotians, and men and men-identified individuals. Sarah Rodimon, Executive Director, Avalon Sexual Assault Centre

Today’s announcement marks a big step forward in improving healing and trauma recovery for those individuals impacted by sexual violence. At Nova Scotia Health, we aim to achieve excellence in health, healing and learning through working together. We are very pleased to be supporting this important initiative that is provided in the community, by the community. Gail Tomblin Murphy, Vice-President, Research, Innovation and Discovery and Chief Nurse Executive, Nova Scotia Health

The community network model for sexual violence trauma therapy provides the enhancements and structure necessary to provide more accessible, culturally safer trauma-specific services to support healing for the diverse needs of Nova Scotians who have experienced sexual violence - appropriately placed in the community. Nova Scotia Health is pleased to provide a supportive role. Susan Wilson, Director, Violence Prevention, Intervention and Response, Nova Scotia Health

Quick Facts:

  • the contract for the service will be managed by the Nova Scotia Health
  • 13 new trauma therapists will be hired to support the program, including four designated positions for African Nova Scotian and Indigenous therapists
  • the program will be supported by a total of 24 therapists, up from 11, once fully staffed
  • a request for proposals was issued in December 2021 to identify a qualified organization to lead the new program

Additional Resources:

Mandate letter for the Minister responsible for the Office of Addictions and Mental Health: https://novascotia.ca/exec_council/letters-2021/ministerial-mandate-letter-2021-CNS-AMH-Youth.pdf

Sexual violence and prevention supports: https://novascotia.ca/coms/svs/

Avalon Sexual Assault Centre: https://avaloncentre.ca/

-30-