Okanagan Bad Date Program, Male Sexual Abuse Awareness, Violence Against Woman in Relationships, High Risk Domestic Violence Committee, Sexual Assault Services

Sexual Assault Serves

From November 2008 to present the Society served on the Sexual Assault Services Committee. Prior to 2009 Vernon was not funded to provide medical services to victims of sexual assault. In November 2008 the Society joined a committee consisting of Interior Health, RCMP, Women’s Transition Society and many others to ensure a local service was in place. Prior to this initiative, victims were required to go to the Kelowna Hospital to see a sexual assault examiner. A protocol was developed and various fundraising initiatives occurred to train local Registered Nurses to be sexual assault examiners. In 2009, 2012 and 2015 the Society assisted in arranging and hosting fundraisers to raise money for training, transportation, sexual assault examination kits and clothing. By September 2009 Vernon’s Sexual Assault Services were in operation. If someone has been sexually assaulted they can go directly to Vernon Jubilee Hospital Emergency where a specialized team is available to provide care to anyone 13 or older who has been sexually assaulted within the past 7 days. Alternatively, the person can choose to access the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Social Worker, Specialized Victims Assistance, Family Resource Centre, Crisis Line, RCMP Victim Assistance: Vernon, Armstrong, Enderby & Lumby Public Health, Downtown Primary Care Clinic, Ministry of Children and Family Development, Vernon Women’s Transition House. The committee continues to meet for program reviews, community education and funding initiatives.

Male Sexual Abuse Awareness
In June 2011 the Society started a campaign to raise awareness that males are often victims of sexual assault. Our main objectives were to raise community and agency awareness of the need for services for men who have been sexually abused. Identify services in the Okanagan for men who have been sexually abused. Identify services in the Okanagan for men who have been sexual offenders. Identify gaps in services. In September 2011 the Society held a workshop for service providers led by Alana Samson, Executive Director and Senior Therapist from Victoria’s Men’s Trauma Center. The workshop was aimed at helping professionals who may encounter male survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the course of their roles as social workers, addiction counselors, street outreach workers, frontline support workers, crisis line workers, corrections officers, etc. The workshop included a discussion of special topics including gay men, spirituality, and men with disabilities. In October 2011 the Society co facilitated a community forum with a focus on male sexual abuse victimization. The forum’s guest speakers included survivors and counselors. The Society continues to advocate for increased funding for programs specialized in working with male survivors.

Okanagan Bad Date Program
In July 2011 the two primary service providers working with people involved in survival sex recognized that there was a need for a bad date program in the North Okanagan. The Society and the Cammy LaFleur Street Nurse Outreach Program teamed up to create a protocol for reporting sexual assaults to people involved in survival sex. The reports have been distributed to applicable service providers for posting to ensure descriptors of the predator and vehicle is widely available. In the summer of 2014 the Society and the Cammy LaFleur Street Nurse Outreach Program started working with organizations from Kelowna to expand the program across the Okanagan.

Violence Against Woman in Relationships
In September 2010 the Society joined the Violence Against Woman in Relationships committee. This committee oversees such initiatives as the High Risk Domestic Violence Committee and Sexual Assault Services Committee. The committee works on a variety of initiatives which include: Options for free and safe supervised access to children, Violence in teen relationships, Violence in relationships involving immigrant women, lack of voluntary and timely services for offenders.

High Risk Domestic Violence Committee
From September 2009 to Feb 2011 the Society served as part of the High Risk Domestic Violence Committee. The committee’s purpose was to develop, administer and evaluate a local process that increases the safety of those affected by domestic violence. The agencies involved were committed to the philosophy that domestic violence is a crime and deserves a criminal response, and that domestic homicide is preventable. A Memorandum of Understanding was created to enable agencies to share information appropriately and within boundaries of legislation. This model was not only officially adopted in the North Okanagan, but is now used through out the province. Today a North Okanagan Safety Planning and Risk Assessment Committee exist to identify domestic violence “cases” that would most benefit from the program.