Support to Report: Supporting Sexually Assaulted Adults Working in Sex Trade or Sex Trafficked to Access Justice

In this update, CRHESI member Gerda Zonruiter shares program evaluation work that is occurring in the community.

Salvation Army Correctional & Justice Services (SACJS) has several programs aimed at supporting individuals engaged (past or present) in sex trade and those who have been sex trafficked. Based on their experiences in delivering these programs, the problem of sexual assault among this population group is a growing concern for SACJS.

As one response, SACJS has designed and implemented the Support to Report project.  This project aims to empower vulnerable adults to make informed decisions about reporting sexual assault and to influence the local justice system to be more supportive and responsive to sexual assault complaints made by this population.  Adhering to the principles of trauma-informed, person-centred and person-directed service delivery, a case manager provides individualized practical and justice system support to people who self-identify as being sexually assaulted, and provides them with a voice to influence local justice system policies and practices.

Support to Report is funded by the Department of Justice Canada, Victim’s Fund, as a project under “Measures to Enhance Criminal Justice System Responses to Adult Sexual Assault in Canada”.  The three-year program officially launched June 1, 2017 with funding ending March 31, 2020, addressing two Victim’s Fund priorities:

  • Promote access to justice and participation by victims in the justice system
  • Increase knowledge and awareness of the impact of victimization, the needs of victims of crime, available services, assistance and programs, and relevant legislation

A comprehensive three-year evaluation is being conducted.  Results are reported through a series of 4 studies:

  • Current Situation Report in 2017 to inform program design and establish a baseline understanding of the problem and its context
  • A formative evaluation in 2018 to report on program development, implementation and early outcome (infographic year 1)
  • A process evaluation in 2019 to inform program viability (year 2 infographic)
  • A summative evaluation in 2020 for accountability and to provide recommendations for service delivery beyond 2020.

Feedback from participants highlight the value of service delivery that is trauma-informed and person-centred.  Evaluation results show that meeting practical support needs is often the first step to supporting people who have been sexually assaulted.  Getting people connected to the program has been a challenge.  Awareness building about what sexual assault is and information about options for pursuing is needed.

In its final year of Victims Fund funding is planning for sustainability.  SACJS continues to seek new partnerships and connections to better reach and serve this population.

To learn more, please contact Julia Parker, Executive Director Salvation Army Correctional and Justice Services (p) 519-432-9553 Julia_Parker@can.salvationarmy.org or Samantha Gee, Case Manager Support to Report (c) 519-319-9553 samantha.gee@start.ca

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