Federal grant program to offer specialized services for military survivors of sexual assault

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federal government grant has been awarded to three organizations in the region to provide specialized services to individuals who have experienced sexualized violence on military bases.

Three years ago, Huronia Transition Homes (HTH) in Midland received a grant through the Canadian Armed Forces to start working with Base Borden.

“In the last three years, we’ve spent a lot of time networking, building connections with people on base, building connections with agencies who are doing work to provide specialized services for individuals who have experienced sexual violence,” said Haily MacDonald, HTH executive director.

HTH will receive $75,000 annually for the next three years to support Project B.A.S.E. (Building Accessible Supports and Education) and hire a full-time counsellor to provide counselling services on Base Borden.

Athena’s Sexual Assault Counselling & Advocacy Centre is just one of the programs under HTH.

Officials with Athena’s said the goal is to integrate their work at Canadian Forces Base Borden.

“Military culture is very heightened based on regular society, so it is reflective of the society we live in, but everything is heightened because of the circumstances, and so it can be difficult for survivors to actually speak up when they’re also working with their perpetrator,” said Amanda Wagner, with Athena’s Sexual Assault Counselling & Advocacy Centre.

Muskoka Parry Sound Sexual Assault Services will also receive funding to provide culturally relevant healing to Indigenous survivors.

“So, what this means for us is a three-year counsellor position who can work specifically with survivors from the military, and that program Ojiibikaawan is we have roots,” said Lauren Power with Muskoka Parry Sound Sexual Assault Services.

Four Directions of Healing in Bracebridge is the third recipient of the funding, offering culturally-based healing experiences and virtual support services to Indigenous individuals impacted by sexual misconduct in the Defence community in collaboration with GreenStone Centre for Recovery.

Officials with Huronia Transition Homes expressed hope this funding would become permanent after the next three years.

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