‘Today is about those survivors’: Province funding new community-based sexual assault healing program

The province is providing more than a million dollars for a new community-based sexual assault crisis response and healing program in Winnipeg.

$1.3 million will go towards the program, to be initially run at Klinic Community Health, 167 Sherbrook Street.

A mobile crisis response team will also operate out of Ka Ni Kanichihk, an Indigenous community healing centre. 

“We are establishing a community-based model that is complementary to the model offered by Shared Health,” said Families Minister Rochelle Squires, the minister responsible for the status of women. “Our anticipation is that all sexual assault survivors in the province of Manitoba can get a trauma-informed response to a very traumatic and horrific assault that they’ve endured.”

The new community-based program will improve Manitoba’s health-care system capacity by complementing the existing Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program at HSC Winnipeg, added Squires.

The Health Sciences Centre (HSC) will remain the initial point of treatment for adults and children who have experienced sexual assault. Survivors who need medical care will continue to be treated at the hospital prior to an examination at Klinic

“April 24th marks Klinic’s 50th anniversary,” said executive director Ayn Wilcox. “I can’t think of a more beautiful, powerful, and fitting way to mark this celebratory milestone.”

April is sexual awareness month. Squires said this program is for the many Manitobans who are victims of sexual assault.

“We want to ensure that they have the services and the support that they need to get them on their healing journey immediately,” she said. “Today is about those survivors.”

The official opposition said the program is too little, too late.

“The government ruined a program that delivered health care to sexual assault survivors and helped bring charges against their perpetrators. A year ago the PCs promised to expand services, instead nurses are leaving the program and sexual assault patients are being turned away. Manitobans can’t trust the PCs when it comes to health care,” said Uzoma Asagwara, NDP Health Critic in an email statement. 

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