The number of sexual assault victims accessing services is on the rise, according to the Regina Sexual Assault Centre.
From October 2017 to March 2018 the centre saw 878 new and returning clients, compared to 610 during the same period last year.
The biggest increase is in calls to the crisis line. Within the last six months calls have jumped from around 20 per month to between 45 and 55.
“On a number of levels it’s really disturbing that it is so full, but it also means that people have to wait longer to come in and get necessary counselling,” counselor Kate McEvenue said.
McEvenue points to movements like #MeToo for sparking awareness and reigniting the conversation.
“People are now feeling much more comfortable bringing those stories forward and feeling like they have a right to talk about it,” McEvenue explained.
In Regina, the number of reported sexual assaults are on the rise. Statistics show that Regina Police are dealing with nearly double the number of cases compared to last year.
Between January and the end of May 2018 there have been 91 cases of sexual assault, compared to 51 during the same period last year.
Police Chief Evan Bray says it could mean that more are being reported.
“We’ve made significant changes to how we train our officers to investigate sexual assaults,” he said. “We have them reported to us here at the police service and those changes are known not only by unfortunately those who are victimized, but by support services.”
Even though police have changed their approach, McEvenue says it’s too early to tell what impact it’s had on the number of cases reported.
While it’s unclear if the number of sexual assaults are increasing or more people are simply reporting, McEvenue says more people are certainly seeking help.
“I very much doubt that its that we’re seeing more sexual assaults but I absolutely can’t tell you that, but I just hope that it’s because people feel that they will be treated with care and they will be attended to in a way that’s respectful,” she explained.