(Photo via Victim Services of Leeds and Grenville.)
A new mobile sexual assault centre has made its way into the community.
Last week, the province announced an investment of $687,000 to help establish new sexual violence support services in Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.
Executive Director for Victim Services of Leeds & Grenville, Sonya Jodoin says this is something that was a long time coming for the area, and they are ecstatic to be able to provide this kind of service.
“We started having conversations that shifted it towards – what if we could provide services that were more responsive to a rural environment, and kind of create a different model,” Jodoin said. “And hence this is the result of all those conversations.”
The new mobile centre will support victims and survivors of sexual assault through counselling, peer support, advocacy, and 24-hour crisis support over the phone.
Jodoin says the region has long been underserved in the areas of support and services for victims.
She feels the new centre will have a big impact on those in rural settings.
“It’s really to make the services more accessible to everyone,” she said. “And I think that means quite a bit, especially to folks who are living out in those communities that don’t have the accessibility or ability to get somewhere.”
The new centre is part of the province’s goal to help victim service organizations improve collaboration across the sector and make it easier and quicker for victims to find services when they need them.
Jodoin is thankful for all the work that’s been done by area municipalities and the province to see this project come to fruition.
“Municipal leaders have been very supportive, and active,” Jodoin said. “They’ve worked hard on this and quite a number of the Mayors have been involved at different points, and so have community members. And of course, MPP Steve Clark has been a huge champion for this.”