News / Calgary

Sexual assault centre wait times are up in Calgary, thanks to increase in awareness and #MeToo

It's "extremely difficult" to wait for help, agency says, but 260 people are doing so

Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse executive director Danielle Aubry in Calgary.

CCASA / Contributed

Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse executive director Danielle Aubry in Calgary.

The global movement to bring sexual assault out of the shadows — with #MeToo and before that #BeenRapedNeverReported — is encouraging survivors to come forward, tell their stories and get counselling.

And that has sexual-assault centres overwhelmed.

The waiting list for free individual counselling at Calgary Communities Against Sexual Assault has doubled from four or five months to nine months over the past year, with about 260 people currently waiting, said executive director Danielle Aubry.

Nevertheless, Aubry encouraged survivors to keep seeking help, explaining that the agency will "triage" those most in need.

The number of new counselling clients coming to sexual-assault centres provincewide increased from 2,446 in 2015-2016 to 3,510 in 2016-2017, according to a document the Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services submitted to the province. Demand has doubled overall since 2013.

The document outlines the business case for about $6.6 million in new provincial funding for sexual-assault centres — an increase of 77 per cent over the current $8.5 million.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Status of Women told Metro the proposal is under consideration.

“All over the province, we're absolutely hurting,” Aubry said. “When you have to put anyone on a waitlist, it's not good.”

But without more money, there's only so much she can do to knock down the wait.

"I don't ask my staff to work more than their regular hours. That's inhumane."

More on Metronews.ca