VITAL MESSAGE-- Lois Hansen

Lois Hansen talks about Crisis Centre’s goals and objectives

The Downtown Rotary Club of Red Deer welcomed Lois Hansen with The Crisis Centre at a lunch meeting to talk about sexual assault and what the Centre does for Red Deer.

The Crisis Centre works to promote awareness about sexual assault and how to prevent it and has frequently held presentations at high schools and junior highs.

The course is called The Good, The Bad and the Ugly of Relationships.

“The program works to teach students how to deal with the circumstances should they encounter them,” said Hansen, the Centre’s executive director.

In the last year, The Crisis Centre has presented information to more than 8,000 people.

Eighty per cent of victims know their attacker but only 8% of people ever report assaults to police.

“We taught our children to be afraid of strangers when we should have taught them to be afraid of who they know as well,” said Hansen.

The Crisis Centre is also considering a name change to the SASC (Sexual Assault Support Centre) to reflect their focus on sexual assault.

“I see people who come into the Centre sad and broken and in crisis and in one or two visits they have been helped, so when they leave they have light in their eyes and hope,” said Hansen.

The Crisis Centre provides counselling to children as young as four and often deals with what Hansen calls historic cases when people were assaulted as a child and are dealing with it five to 25 years later.

The Centre also has a medical response team called SART (Sexual Assault Response Team) which works 24 hours a day and seven days a week to attend to victims at the hospital and access their needs.

For 25 years the Centre has been providing help to Red Deerians in need of assistance and Hansen would like to see more people make use of the programs should they need them.

“There are scads of people who are too scared, intimidated or embarrassed to come forward and we want to change that.”

Also offered is a 24-hour crisis line staffed by volunteers.

Hansen explained that there were 246 new clients last year, 169 of which were adults, 54 youth, and 23 who were children.

For more information visit www.cacrisiscentre.ca

kpalardy@reddeerexpress.com

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