Coordinated response for sexual assaults in Revelstoke

'This assessment gives them more options, it can be anonymous and it will help us get a better picture of how to help.'

Victims of sexual assault in Revelstoke will have options to turn to that are sensitive to their needs with Revelstoke's Sexual Assault Response Assessment. Photo: Miguel Bruna
The launch of a community-specific response to sexual assault next week comes at a time when a number of sexual assaults have recently been reported in Revelstoke’s public spaces.
 
In December the Revelstoke Mountaineer spoke to a victim of sexual assault on the greenbelt and reports led local RCMP and other agencies in a joint media release to warn the community of their safety.
 
The Revelstoke Sexual Assault Response Assessment will get the community on the same page with what to do and who to go to when someone approaches them about experiencing a sexual assault. 
 
“Most people don’t want to report this type of experience to police,” shelter executive director Lynn Loeppky said. “This assessment gives them more options, it can be anonymous and it will help us get a better picture of how to help.”
 
Winter in Revelstoke sees a higher number of temporary residents, substance use and partying, which can be factors in sexual assaults. Photo: Taylor Davidson

The Revelstoke Women’s Shelter Society received a civil forfeiture grant to create the assessment, which was overseen by the Revelstoke Domestic Violence Steering Committee and researched and written locally by Rana Nelson of Onwords Communication. The committee is made up of local services including Interior Health, the RCMP and Victim Services, Community Connections, Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Ministry of Justice.

As a growing resort community with a fluid population, incidents of sexual assault are likely to become more common. Sexual assaults are generally life-altering for the victim, but as they are under-reported, it is difficult to grasp how often they occur.
 
We know that Revelstoke in winter sees a high number of temporary residents and a high amount of substance use, which can be factors in sexual assaults. Drink spiking is a known issue here.
 
“Knowing how to help if there is an incident makes the world of difference at a time of trauma and shock for the victim,” Loeppky said.
 
The presentation is important general knowledge for everyone but business owners and bar managers in particular should attend as they may deal more frequently with incidents with staff members or customers.
 
The Revelstoke community will gain education and insight into how to help if someone turns to them about a sexual assault. Photo: Marcos Luiz

The presentation of the assessment is next Wednesday, February 13 from 6 to 7.30 p.m. at the Sandman Hotel’s banquet room at 1901 Laforme Boulevard. Pizza and juice will be provided. Nurses, RCMP officers, victim services and shelter staff will be available to answer questions

The presentation coincides with V-Day on February 14, which is a global movement to end violence against women and girls. The Sexual Assault Response Assessment is for all genders.
Call the women’s shelter on 250-837-4382 to organize private sessions for groups. 

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