“Our waitlist is sitting at around 150 people which is the highest we have ever seen it,” says Heather Sinfield, community initiatives director at Lloydminster Sexual Assault Services.
Recent grant funding from the Alberta government of $219,370 is being welcomed by LSAS as it seeks to reduce wait times by hiring another worker.
Sinfield says with that number of people, “it equates from six-to-nine months of folks waiting to have counselling services. This funding will go directly towards hiring an additional crisis interventionist to be able to take more people on and reduce the wait times as quickly as possible.”
The Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services is the umbrella group that advocates on behalf of sexual assault centres in the province and raises concerns with the government, adds Sinfield. She adds overall the funding will assist with programs and services within the crisis intervention department.
Sinfield says they are extremely grateful for all funding, and this is significant as they seek to reduce the wait times. At present the crisis interventionist will check in with the clients on the waitlist who are waiting for an appointment.
“Our one director does monthly check-ins with anybody that is on our waitlist – just to see how they are doing, provide some crisis support, triage and do risk assessments. One key factor of our waitlists is we have to triage and assess. If it’s a more recent assault, they will move higher on the list.”
May is Sexual Violence Awareness month and LSAS is having several activities to address issues like victim blaming and a Teaching Boundaries and Consent workshop. More details will be posted to their social media.