A new team has been formed locally to help victims of sexualized violence.
The East Kootenay Sexualized Assault Response Team was set up last week to organize community agencies and support people throughout the region.
EK-SART Coordinator Nancy Regular says this helps give a voice to assaulted women.
“It brings more coordination to responding to disclosures of sexualized assault,” Regular says. “We also have a volunteer team that will act as advocates and support for people that disclose they’ve experienced sexual assault. What those volunteers will do is explain to people what their options are as well as connect them with those options.”
Regular says the team will help connect victims to the services they need and make sure incidents are actually reported.
“If someone wants to access the team, but is not sure they want to report to the RCMP yet, the volunteer can explain to them exactly what RCMP reporting looks like, as well as connect them with other reporting options and other services they might want to access,” Regular says.
Cranbrook RCMP says sexual assaults are up to 12 this year, compared to three reported all of last year.
Police believe a new third party reporting system is a major factor to the increase.
The group will begin training a team of volunteers in December.
Anyone interested is asked to contact the Canadian Mental Health Association of the Kootenays.
– EK-SART Coordinator Nancy Regular