The Sexualized Assault Response Team to be operational by April
A new Sexualized Assault Response Team is being created, through coordination between the departments of Health and Social Services, Justice and the Women’s Directorate. “The team will provide coordinated, victim-centered, low-barrier services to victims of sexualized assault.” The government is trying to ensure that when a victim needs they will get it.
As the Yukon has one of the highest rates of sexual violence in the country, with a majority not being reported, Jeanie Dendys (Mountainview) Minister Responsible for the Women’s Directorate says this team is needed. “Given the high rates of sexualized violence against women and girls, particularly Indigenous women and girls in the Yukon we see this as a critical next step in improving services for victims of sexualized assault. When victims feel safe, informed and supported, there is a greater chance they will disclose sexualized violence, access supports needed for recovery.”
The team is expected to improve coordination so that victims receive the services they need, when they need them and on their own terms. Victims will have access to comprehensive care and support as they navigate social, medical, and legal systems.
Dendys is hoping that in providing a safe place for victims, more reporting will occur. “Placing victims needs and choices first, and ensuring they are heard, respected and supported when engaging and navigating Yukon's social, medial and legal system.”
An after-hours response line will also be available, offering 24/7 support to victims.
Dendys spoke to the gaps in services facing victims. “Particularly in after hour care for victims and certified training for forensic sexualized assault exams.” Dendys says a coordinator is expected to be hired immediately, while the team is to be fully operational by April, 2018.
(Dan Jones Whitehorse Dec. 5, 2017)