The Regina Sexual Assault Centre is expanding to a satellite location in Moose Jaw, to make their counselling services more readily available to out-of-town clients.
Lisa Miller, executive director of the Regina Sexual Assault Centre, said the expansion has been in the works for a while and is finally coming to fruition.
“We started looking at this a couple of years ago because we have a fair number of our clients coming from the Moose Jaw area,” said Miller. “And the extra drive from Moose Jaw we know was causing a barrier for people to access services.”
Moose Jaw’s satellite services will offer individual, family, and group therapy sessions with trained professionals to anyone who has experienced sexual violence of any type, much like the services offered in Regina.
The expansion is meant to help alleviate client barriers that can keep them from accessing services, like taking time off work or adjusting childcare to travel from Moose Jaw to Regina and the issue of transportation.
Moose Jaw Partners Against Violence has had an active role in making this expansion possible, said Miller, who applauded their hard work.
Jenn Angus, committee chair for Partners Against Violence and executive director at the Moose Jaw Transition House, is glad to see the project finally moving forward, as she often hears about the need for services from potential clients in her role.
“(Partners Against Violence) has representation from health, from education, from policing and justice, and everyone has identified this as a need in our community,” said Angus.
Currently, the Regina Sexual Assault Centre is offering trauma group sessions in Moose Jaw. With a space for services already secured, the hope for the future is to have a counsellor in Moose Jaw two to three days a week, provided funding can be attained.
“The number of days in Moose Jaw is going to be contingent on getting additional funding for another counsellor,” said Miller.
The Partners Against Violence committee is helping pin down funding for the expansion, with the goal of providing consistent services as soon as April if possible.
“The biggest thing (right now) is securing that funding to make sure that there's some consistency and sustainability,” said Angus. “We want to have enough in place that we can run it for a couple of years, at least to make sure that we're reaching people willing to be reached and where they need to be reached.”
Regardless of additional grants, the Centre has committed to having a counsellor in Moose Jaw at least once a once a week.
About 15 per cent of clients at the Regina Sexual Assault Clinic are from Moose Jaw and area, which equates to about 240 one-hour counselling sessions.
The current waitlist for services will not change, with Moose Jaw clients becoming able to access services in their own community, but Miller does expect to see more clients interested in pursuing services because of the accessibility.
“The internal barriers of even just taking that first step to talk to someone, it's even more pronounced when they have to all those extra steps to even go to a different community,” said Miller. “And so I think for sexual assault victims, having an agency in the community who is going to break down some of those barriers and provide people with better support is so important.”
For Angus and the Partners Against Violence Committee, seeing the expansion of services come to fruition is a victory.
“For us, as service providers, we just want to see people get the best service that they can in our community,” said Angus.