“SSAIC has helped me because I am no longer afraid. I am myself again.” Counselling Client
The Saskatoon Sexual Assault & Information Centre is one of those places that if you’ve never needed it or never had a friend need it, then you may not know it exists. But when you do need it, it’s always there. Sexualized violence is incredibly common in Saskatchewan. Here, in this province, we have the highest rates of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment in the country, with data showing that one in three women and one in six men experience some sort of sexualized violence before they turn eighteen. There’s a lot of research that would indicate our numbers are even higher than that (e.g. our low reporting rates to police). What this indicates is that survivors aren’t alone in their experience, and that all of us know survivors whether we’re aware we do or not.
Morgan Price came to work at SSAIC three years ago this January. She started at the agency as a practicum student through the Social Work program through the University of Regina, then began work as a counsellor, before moving into her current position of Education & Outreach Coordinator about a year ago.
Her work has four pillars. The main one is education: handling public education of sexualized violence, organizing professional development for her agency, and regulating the information that goes out into the community. Morgan’s outreach work builds relationships with other community organizations so that they know about the work of SSAIC and the services they offer. She is also in charge of communications for SSAIC, from running their social media accounts (follow them @SSAIC1) and creating original content and their monthly newsletter, to connecting with media outlets and creating pamphlets and resources. Morgan also works on fund development for this non-profit organization with the Executive Director, Faye Davis.
SSAIC’s main purpose is to be an accessible hub for survivors of sexualized violence, their loved ones, and for the general community to come seek support in any way they may need. This may be a referral to hospital services or police, or maybe it’s counselling, resources, or information. Since the opening of the agency in 1975, SSAIC has always remained 100% cost-free to survivors of sexualized violence, which they are dedicated to maintaining. SSAIC has been able to consistently provide counselling services via telephone throughout the entire pandemic, remaining available to survivors in our community. Prior to the pandemic, SSAIC offered in-person groups therapy as well—both open drop-in groups as well as closed groups (which were referral based and took a deeper, more therapeutic approach). Throughout COVID-19, they’ve been able to begin offering virtual trauma-informed yoga via Zoom.
Morgan loves everything about working at SSAIC, especially the collaborative atmosphere where everyone is able to have a say on programming and policy development that will best serve survivors in our community. She loves the stance of “We believe survivors,” which is part of SSAIC’s philosophy. If a survivor says they’ve experienced sexualized violence, the staff at SSAIC believe you without question. That is so important in this work.
This past year, SSAIC provided counselling and support services to 482 new clients and answered 109 calls providing support, informal calls and referrals. SSAIC counsellors continued to provide counselling services to an additional 300 previously existing clients for a total of 782 survivors supported in 2019-2020. They provided 2,077 follow-up services, including phone support, individual and group counselling, and police and court accompaniments for a total of 2,668 contacts with survivors of sexualized violence and their support persons.
SSAIC is able to do their work with help from government funding, grants and sponsorships, and loyal donors in the community. Their current goal is to build a base of loyal donors who are committed to and believe in SSAIC’s work and choose to donate to SSAIC over the years.
Morgan finds the most rewarding part of the work is seeing clients coming out of counselling on a path to healing. She says, “These stories keep us doing the work that we do. Survivors give us hope.”