Support for Youth
We know that sexual violence can impact anyone – regardless of age. If you are under the age of 18 and have been affected by sexual violence, we are here to support you.
We will ALWAYS believe you.
It is our goal to support YOU and we strive to maintain confidentiality as much as possible. This means that we will protect your privacy and we will only inform others when legally necessary. In Alberta, there is a law that requires any adult who has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that someone under the age of 18 is in immediate danger to report to Child and Family Services or the Police. This means that if you tell any of our staff members that you are currently experiencing ongoing abuse of any type or if there is a risk of any abuse happening again, we will need to report it to Child and Family Services or to the Police. We may also need to break confidentiality if you disclose immediate plans take your own life or to harm someone else. In any of these situations, we will do our best to give you a choice in how this unfolds and to keep you informed about the process.
How Do I Know if it Counts?
One of the most frequently asked questions that we hear from students is “does this count as sexual assault/harassment?” and, while we are not able to label anyone else’s experience, the conclusion reached is usually “yes, that would count”. Sexual assault is any sort of sexual touch that is non-consensual, meaning that you did not want it to happen in the moment. Sexual harassment is any sort of sexual communication that makes you uncomfortable or feel violated, whether this communication is done through words or images. Both definitions hinge on YOUR feelings. We can tell when someone is not interested in, not excited for, or made uncomfortable by an activity. Sexual assault and harassment happen when someone else chooses to ignore the other person’s feelings and continue with the activity.
Accessing Our Counselling Services
Our counselling services are available for anyone aged 4 or older who has experienced sexual assault. All of our therapists are highly qualified, trauma informed, and know how to work alongside people of all ages. Services are currently offered both in-person at our office in Sherwood Park and virtually.
In order to receive counselling, we need consent from all your legal guardians, even those who may not be present in your day-to-day life. We understand that this may seem unfair and can be a very difficult part of the process for you, but it is a legal obligation we need to fulfill. An additional requirement for accessing our counselling services as a minor is that the assault must be reported to either the Police or to Child and Family Services. While it is not always a legal requirement to report, this is part of SAFFRON’s policy and is a very important step in providing you with the best support possible. Our Police and Court Support program offers free advice, information, and support for people going through the process, so please consider reaching out to us if this is something you are doing.
Once you have met those requirements, you can phone or email us to get started on the process, which begins with two different intake appointments. A parent or guardian will need to complete the intake on your behalf and information about your insurance, your specific needs, and your place in the reporting process will be collected among other things. After the second intake, you will be placed on the waitlist and contacted as soon as a spot becomes available with an appropriate therapist. You can then receive up to 20 sessions that are 50 minutes each with a therapist. The first session will be between your parents or guardians and the therapist in order to establish the necessary background information.
If You Have Experienced Sexual Harassment ...
Sexual harassment can be a very difficult experience to cope with. Many of the options for support are more informal and involve finding ways to talk about and work through the experience.
Talk to a Trusted Adult. As is the case with the other experiences, talking to a trusted adult in your life can be an important part of the healing process.
Delegate to an Authority Figure. If the harassment happened/is happening at school or work, you can talk to a teacher, principal, boss, or human resources representative and go over some options with them.
Reach Out to Alberta’s One Line for Sexual Violence. You can call or text 1-866-403-8000 to speak to someone trained in handling disclosures about sexual assault and sexual harassment.
If you have questions about the SAFFRON Centre or are interested in counselling, there are two ways to contact us: you can phone us at 780-449-0900 and speak to one of our very kind administrators or you can email us at email@example.com. We are open Monday to Saturday, with evening hours on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
If you are curious about our work and want to stay up to date with what we’re doing, follow us on Instagram @saffroncentre.
If you met us in your school and are hoping to connect with the Public Educator who presented, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to contact them. They work from 8:30am-4:30pm Monday-Friday and will try to respond to you as soon as possible. +
Please note that the SAFFRON Centre is NOT a crisis centre, meaning that we are not in a position to personally help someone who is in immediate and severe distress; instead, we will refer you to someone who is better suited to help. You can call or text 1-800-956-1099 at any time to access the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre’s 24-Hour Crisis Line.