Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region
November Newsletter
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November is Woman Abuse Prevention Month. To acknowledge one part of our work in this area, we asked Kat Rossi, our Family Court Support Worker, five questions about SASC's Family Court Support Program. Check it out below:
What is the Family Court Support (FCS) Program, and who is it for?
The FCS Program provides support to women who have experienced abuse, control or violence in their relationship, as they journey through the Family Court System. We support women that have experienced any form of abusive behaviour from a current or ex partner, including emotional, verbal, psychological, sexual, physical, post-separation, and legal abuse, as well as stalking and harassment.

Navigating the Family Court System can be confusing and overwhelming, which is only intensified for our clients who are trying to settle issues with an ex-partner who is abusive or controlling. We support women dealing with any Family Court issues, such as custody and access of children, child and spousal support, equalization and division of property and assets, divorce, and restraining orders.

This is a free program which women can be referred to by other community agencies, or can self-refer to by calling, emailing, or completing the online intake form (found at Free language interpretation is available.

What types of support can folks expect through this program?
The FCS program offers a wide range of emotional and practical supports. We support women throughout all stages of their journey, from providing information about legal options when a woman is thinking about leaving her relationship, to the conclusion of her family law matter.

Some of the types of support the FCS program provides are:
  • Information about the family court process and procedures
  • Safety planning
  • Help recording the history of the abuse
  • Helping women to understand and complete court documents
  • Help applying for Legal Aid and/or finding a lawyer
  • Preparing for, and/or debriefing after, legal appointments and court appearances
  • Accompanying women to Family Court and legal appointments
  • Advocacy and referrals to other services and supports
Is there a big need for this program locally?
YES! There is a huge demand for this program and the services that it provides. Unfortunately, abuse doesn’t stop just because the relationship is over, it just takes on a different form. What many people don’t know is that women are actually at the highest risk in the period after separation, as often abusers will escalate their behaviour. They often resort to using new methods to try to exert their power and control, and one of the ways they do this is through the Family Court System.

Although we have never been short on women seeking our services, there has been a large increase over the past 6 months. We are seeing less women able to obtain Legal Aid, and a large proportion of our clients are women that fall in the gap of making too much money to get Legal Aid, but not enough money to afford a lawyer. As a result, many women are forced to represent themselves in Family Court against their abusers. I tend to have about 80-100 clients that I support at any given time.  

Are there specific ways folks in our community can support the program?
Definitely! What we could use the most help with right now is donations to help with our clients’ practical needs. In particular we could use donations of grocery and gas gift cards, VISA gift cards or gift certificates for local taxi companies. Many of our clients cannot use public transit or their own vehicles to attend court for safety reasons, so we are always in need of funds for taxi fares. In addition, family court is an expensive process and many of our clients need some extra help financially, especially at this time of year.

(Interested in donating some gift cards to this program? Email and we would be happy to chat with you!)
Is there anything up and coming in this program for 2020?
Yes, 2020 is going to be a very exciting and busy year for the FCS program! With the help of the program’s two placement students, we will be offering a 2-hour Introduction to Family Court Workshop from 6-8pm on Tuesday January 21st. This will be an open workshop that women in the community can attend to learn more information about the family court system, and how to bring a family court application.

We are also planning to hold a 6-8 week peer support group for women who have experienced abuse that are in the process of navigating the family court system. This group will take place in Winter/Spring 2020. More information on specific dates and how to register will be released on our website in the new year.

Please join us for a community vigil.

Date/Time: Friday, December 6, 2019 | 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Location: St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, 54 Queen Street North, Kitchener Ontario, N2H 2H2

December 6th 1989. It's been 30 years since fourteen young women were killed at l'Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal. Since then, we've recognized December 6th as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

On December 6th, we're also remembering the 1000s of missing and murdered First Nations, Metis, and Inuit women, girls, and two-spirited people in Canada.

On December 6th, we're honouring all victims of gender-based violence in our community and across our nation.

With guest speakers:
Jean Becker, Senior Advisor, Indigenous Initiatives, Wilfrid Laurier University
Mino Ode Kwewak N'Gamowak, Good Hearted Women Singers
Sara Casselman, Executive Director, Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region

Hosted by the Canadian Federation of University Women of Kitchener-Waterloo.

This fall, SASC had an amazing opportunity to join Social Venture Partners' Perfect Pitch program. Over several weeks, SASC staff were paired with four incredible coaches (Andrea Harding, Dave Caputo, Gary Abbott and Nancy Fox) who guided us through several workshops led by industry professionals on creating the Perfect Pitch.

On the evening of November 5th, SASC presented our pitch along with 6 other local charities. After weeks of practice, we were absolutely thrilled to have been chosen for the Perfect Pitch Audience’s Choice Award and Teens’ Choice Award!

Big thanks to SVP Waterloo Region and our coaches for an amazing experience. We are so ecstatic about the outcome of this program, and now have the Perfect Pitch in our toolkit! For a recap from Social Venture Partners, click here. A video of our Perfect Pitch is coming soon, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to check it out. 
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is an international UN Women campaign that takes place each year. It commences on the 25th of November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to the 10th of December, Human Rights Day. The Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion Office at University of Waterloo will be running events and workshops throughout the 16 Days to combat gender based violence on campus. SASC is proud to participate in some of the events taking place.

Click here for a full schedule of events taking place at the University of Waterloo during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence!
SASC endorses the National Day of Conversation (#NDOC), taking place on November 26, 2019.
The National Day Of Conversation is a digital conversation focused on the issue of sexualized violence against fundraisers in the charitable sector. Currently, 1 in 4 women in the fundraising profession report being sexually harassed.                                                         
To learn more about the National Day Of Conversation, and to find out how to be a part of the conversation, check out the official Facebook event here. SASC will be participating in online discussions and a roundtable discussion on men as champions of equity. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@SASCWR) for highlights of our conversation!
Monthly giving is a simple, tangible and feel-good way that you can give back throughout the whole year. Just $10 a month can make a difference for a local survivor of sexual violence. Consider that…
  • $10 a month can provide survivors with practical assistance such as bus tickets, food, and self-care items
  • $25 a month can provide 8 hours of coverage on our 24 Hour Support Line, ensuring a trained and caring person is always available to take a call
  • $50 a month can support workshops for youth about consent and healthy relationships
  • $75 a month can support one survivor through their healing journey 
Your donation has real, direct impact for a local survivor of sexual violence.

Signing up is easy, safe and secure:
Click here to set up your monthly donation via credit card, Visa debit, or PayPal
Every month, we are highlighting one of our dedicated board members so you can get to know some of the people in our community who are committed to ending sexual violence.

This month, we are happy to share a bit about our amazing board member, Gulin Aydin.

What do you do? 
I am a Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist.

Why did you become a board member with SASC? I have worked with many survivors of sexual violence as a therapist. [In my work], I met with SASC and realized how SASC's job is so valuable for survivors. I wanted to be part of this organization.

What does being on the SASC board bring to you? Being a board member keeps me updated on the work that happens in this area and allows me to be extra resourceful for my clients.

Is there anything else we should know about you? I immigrated to Canada from Turkey 15 years ago with my husband and two daughters. I am proud of being a Turkish & Canadian social worker/trauma therapist - it allows me to help hundreds of survivors to process their trauma and improve their lives.
Thanks Gulin!

Anti-human trafficking curriculum to be used in Waterloo Region District School Board (CBC News, November 21, 2019)

Funding cuts are ‘incredible loss’ for sex assault victims (The Waterloo Region Record, November 21, 2019)
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