Sexual Violence Awareness Week proclaimed in Saskatchewan

Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant. (Herald file photo)

On Monday the Government of Saskatchewan announced that it is proclaiming May 17-21 as Sexual Violence Awareness Week.

“Sexual violence is a heinous act that severely impacts survivors,” Justice Minister and Attorney General Gordon Wyant said in a release

“Providing services and supports to victims can make a crucial difference – in particular when the victims are children. We are proud to partner with committed service providers across Saskatchewan to assist survivors.”

Government is taking this opportunity to highlight the services for child victims and to recognize the work of service providers across the province in support of victims of sexual violence.

“Responding to complex issues like sexual violence requires an integrated approach; especially when it comes to protecting our children,” Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Office Laura Ross said.  “The Status of Women Office focuses on bridging partnerships and creating connections that support work focused on solving all forms of interpersonal violence and abuse in Saskatchewan.”

Saskatchewan addresses the sexual exploitation of children and youth through prevention, outreach, harm reduction, treatment and police services.  This includes distributing $1.5 million for police initiatives such as the Internet Child Exploitation units, which investigate internet predators. 

“Sexual Violence Awareness Week reflects the intersectional nature of a problem that is too common in Saskatchewan,” Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan (SASS) Executive Director Kerrie Isaac said.

“However, there is hope to end sexual violence in our province if we come together as a community and both recognize and address the issues and realities that surround sexual violence.”

In 2021-22, the province will provide $1.6 million to service providers in Saskatchewan who support survivors of sexual violence. These partners provide a variety of services based on community needs.  These services include support groups, counselling, and public education.  Since 2017-18, there has been an almost 35 per cent increase in government funding for services for victims of sexual violence. 

Provincial services for victims and at-risk children and youth also include five Crime Prevention Programs to reduce crime and victimization, two Child Advocacy Centres that conduct child abuse investigations, intensive supports for children and youth victims required to testify in court, and outreach services for exploited youth.

You can help stop child abuse and neglect. The province has developed an online course, also available in French, on the duty to report. We encourage everyone in Saskatchewan to take 15 minutes to complete the course, and learn about their responsibility to report concerns of child abuse and neglect.