Our “crisis and information line” is now our Service Access Line!
Crisis is such a powerful word, making us think of overwhelming disasters, inability to function, and images of being in over your head, hanging on by a thread, or clinging to the side of a cliff by your fingernails. Obviously, when a person is in crisis, calling a crisis line is a very good idea. What may be less obvious is that there are many other times it can be helpful to contact the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre Crisis and Information Line.
I’ll just call it the Line from now on, and by the way here’s the number: (250) 383-3232. Often people are surprised when I tell them all of the things they can access the Line for so I’d like to clear up any misconceptions. The very first and most important message is: You don’t have to be in crisis to call!
Here are some of the many reasons why people might call the Line.
Support for Survivors of Sexualized Violence
- When stressed out or overwhelmed – Note: it’s OK to call before you get in crisis.
- Needing help to feel more grounded
- Wanting to access our services
- If recently sexually assaulted, to:
- To learn about other resources
- You don’t have to go into details about the traumatic experience(s) or give the whole story of your life. One could just say, for example, “I can’t stop thinking about the abuse, what can I do?”
- When in crisis (of course)
*The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is a 24/7 emergency response for people of all genders, 13 years and older, who have been sexually assaulted within the past 7 days.
Information for Anyone
- About our services
- Regarding effects of and responses to sexualized violence
- About the criminal justice system
Information for Professionals
- How to be a support
Support for Supporters of Survivors
- How to help or be a support to a loved one who is a survivor
- A place to talk about feelings resulting from a loved one being assaulted or abused (e.g. I’m feeling angry that this person was hurt; I’ve been having nightmares since they were assaulted, etc.)
- Information about how trauma might affect people (e.g. why does my partner act this way? What does healing look like? What’s a flashback?)
- Information about resources
- Questions one shouldn’t ask survivors but we can answer (e.g why can’t they just get over it?)
- To access services – supporters of survivors of sexualized violence can meet for a couple of sessions with a counsellor
You don’t have to be in crisis to call!
Although we cover a lot of things, the Line does not provide in-depth counselling – it is for in-the-moment support, information, and to take the initial steps for people to access our services.
Our Line is not always answered right away. Our Line is staffed by trained VSAC personnel who are very familiar with the issue of sexualized violence but there is only one person on the Line at a time. If they are on another call or otherwise busy, you can either:
- leave a message – our Crisis Line worker will get back to you as soon as possible but it sometimes takes a little while. Our Line is answered by our staff between 9:30-4:30 on weekdays.
- press a number to be forwarded to the Vancouver Island Crisis Line. We work in partnership with the Vancouver Island Crisis Line, which is a 24 hour line and is able to respond more immediately to calls or to calls that are after hours. Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888
Note that our Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and Clinic are available 24 hours a day. If needed after business hours, the Vancouver Island Crisis Line will contact our SART worker for you.
Now you know some of the many reasons why someone would call our Line. If you think it might be helpful for you, please don’t hesitate to phone us.