Sexual assault survivors need to know people believe them, and that it wasn’t their fault.
So, Waypoints Sexual Assault Healing Centre and the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services (AASAS) unveiled the new provincial help service, One Line.
AASAS made the announcement during a live video conference streamed to healing centres across Alberta.
Sexual Assault Program Manager for Waypoints, Alicia Teasdale, says the province-wide service is the first in Canada.
“One Line is a one provincial support line for survivors of sexual violence, so this line is going to be available right across the province of Alberta in multiple formats. Folks can call in just like a regular telephone support line, they can text, and they can chat online on the platform. It will also be available in 200 languages.”
Teasdale hopes the program will encourage a national partnership or movement across the provinces.
More survivors in Wood Buffalo, and in Alberta, are calling groups like Waypoints for help.
That’s due in part to social media campaigns like AASAS’ #IBelieveYou, and the worldwide #MeToo movement.
Teasdale says this service is a response to the increased demand.
“If a call goes into the One Line provincial line looking for support, with the caller’s permission, One Line is then able to faciliate a warm transfer to their local sexual assault centre.”
Waypoints’ current phone number to reach them directly is still in service.
Sexual Violence Awareness Month
The launch coincides with Sexual Violence Awareness Month.
Participants can wear light blue ribbons adorned with moustache pins.
By reducing the stigma, survivors can feel more comfortable coming forward and getting the support they need.
“What we’re trying to do is create a culture of believing, supporting,” Said Teasdale, “and being able to respond in a way that tells people we believe you, it’s not your fault, and we’re here to support you.”
Facts and figures
- The number for the One Line private help service is 1-866-403-8000
- Contact the Waypoints Sexual Assault Trauma Line at (780) 791-6708
- Show your support on social media with the hashtags #IBelieveYou and #ArmsOpen.