Survivors Voices is a platform for the entire community to learn about sexual assault and to support survivors by providing a safe place for anonymous feedback. There are many community partners that are working to support survivors, but we understand that there are changes that need to be made.
Introduction from SAAC Chair Chondrena Vieira-Martin
Partner Endorsement Halton Police Deputy Chief Jeff Hill
Survivor Voice - Olivia from SAFE Halton
This website is an initiative of the Sexual Assault Advisory Committee (SAAC) which is a collaboration between the Halton Regional Police Service and sexual assault advocates in the region. SAAC is a sub-committee of the Halton Violence Prevention Council (HVPC) which uses community coordination across service sectors to focus on strengthening and improving services, identifying gaps in services and increasing safety for women experiencing violence.
The members of SAAC work together to improve the experiences of survivors of sexual assault entering the justice system. With an ongoing focus to engage survivors to inform the work of the committee, SAAC has developed this website which launched May 21 in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As a member of the Halton Community Safety and Well-Being table, we were able to access funding from the Halton Region Community Investment Fund for this website. This website will not only share the work being done behind the scenes but is a non-biased community project geared at supporting survivor’s safety, creating a safe place for survivor stories to be shared and feedback to be heard.
This community platform website responds to a need that previously didn’t exist. Studies show that only 5% of sexual assaults are reported to police. This is a result of a number of things but primarily, fear of not being believed, lack of resources, fear of repercussions, uncertainty about the investigative process, fear of the criminal justice system and many more. If only 5% of sexual assaults are being reported, that leaves 95% of sexual assault survivors isolated, fearful, traumatized and without support and resources. This website acts as a touchpoint between law enforcement and those 95% of survivors that are struggling in silence and without support. This website can provide a place for survivors to obtain support, knowledge, information and awareness, it also offers a way for survivors to share their experiences and feedback in a confidential way with the community partners of their choice. It provides the opportunity to gain valuable insight into barriers for reporting their experience to police and provide the agencies that support sexual assault survivors a place to gain insight into ways to improve their service and programs. It allows community agencies within Halton to improve their response to sexual violence and better support survivors. In this way, we can, collectively as a community, create meaningful and impactful change for those individuals who have experienced sexual violence.
Our hope is that this initiative increases engagement of survivors of sexual assault to gain insight into more victim-centered approaches and to facilitate greater opportunities for reporting sexual assault. With the feedback received we’ll be able to identify barriers and bring recommendations forward that can be integrated into our services.
We acknowledge that Halton is rich in the history and modern traditions of Indigenous people. Halton is on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, part of the Anishinaabe Nation that extends from the Niagara peninsula across Hamilton, Halton and Toronto to the Rouge River Valley. We thank the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations for sharing their traditional territory with us. We also recognize the enduring presence of Indigenous people on this land.