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Fredericton sexual assault centre begins support group for survivors

FREDERICTON – The province’s only sexual assault centre needs more funding to continue their newly formed support group for female survivors of sexual assault.

The Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre has been providing prevention and response services for 40 years. This year, they started a support group that hasn’t been tried in almost two decades.

“We’ve talked about it for a long time, for many years, of wanting to get a support group running again but a lot of it comes down to the inability to have funding for a program like this,” said counsellor Maggie Crain.

The group of women meet for two hours each week with Crain, who says it’s inspiring seeing the women step beyond the trauma they’ve experienced.

“Women just really appreciate being in the same room and being brought together with other women who understand their experiences and who are validating their experiences,” she said. “It really ends that sense of isolation and secrecy that sometimes they’ve dealt with for most of their lives.”

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Executive Director Lorraine Whalley says the need for this type of services goes beyond Fredericton. Whalley says events over the past year have sparked a deeper conversation around sexual assault, and more women feel empowered to come forward with their stories.

Which means there’s a greater need for services.

“There needs to be a lot more in terms of building sexual assault services especially counselling for victims and survivors,” she said.

While the centre found funding for this group, they already have a wait list of women who want to be involved next time. In the meantime, the centre is working to find more funding.

“It is a struggle,” Whalley said. “Whether it’s through donations or fundraising or looking for other sources of funding, it’s an ongoing struggle and it is frustrating because we don’t create services that the community doesn’t need.”