Kujenga Wellness

Supporting Women and Children Experiencing Violence

In Canada, women are at a greater risk than men of experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, and sex trafficking. This risk is even greater for Black women, who for so long have been ignored and marginalized for their gender and the color of their skin. There are many challenges that Black women in particular face when experience intimate-partner violence (IPV), domestic violence, and various forms of assault. These challenges are amplified when these women cannot find a stable community to support them.

Our team met with partners at Durham Rape Crisis Center to learn more about the crisis and intervention services that are available for women and children. Durham Rape Crisis Center is committed to ending all forms of violence against women and children.

What is the Durham Rape Crisis Centre?

Durham Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) is an Intersectional Feminist organization that is focused on holistic ways of healing. They are a non-for-profit, charitable organization, that are committed to taking an active role in the community to end all forms of violence against women and children.

What are the values held by this organization and its’ mission?

Two important aspects of the organization are that it is Intersectionality Feminist and Trauma–Informed. The Durham Rape Crisis Centre believes in promoting equity and equality for people, regardless of social location (such as but not limited to race, gender, ability, socio-economic status, and sexuality). This allows for a framework that is client-centered, which means that, for instance, the counsellor will always meet the client at a pace that is comfortable with them, respecting their self-determination, autonomy, and agency. Other key values the organization embraces include being non-judgemental, respectful, and confidential, as well as incorporating a social justice and anti-oppressive framework.

Who is the clientele that DRCC serves?

The Durham Rape Crisis Centre serves girls and women (including cis, trans and non-binary individuals) over the age of 16 who have experienced sexual violence of any kind. That includes more recent sexual violence, as well as sexual violence that has occurred in the past/historically. The term ‘sexual violence’ is quite broad, and includes acts such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, molestation, and sexual abuse in various types of relationships.

Though their programs and services serve women and non-binary individuals, the DRCC crisis line is available for anyone to access, regardless of age, gender identity, etc.

What services does DRCC offer?

DRCC offers many different services, at an individual and community level. They provide individual and group counselling, public education, and community development, while also providing advocacy services. Advocacy services can look different depending on the individual’s specific needs, for instance, providing social support and accompanying an individual to an appointment.

DRCC provides education and awareness campaigns geared toward the public in order to promote education and strengthen understandings within the community. Some examples of topics that are discussed within education and awareness campaigns include:

  • Sex/Human Trafficking
  • Sexual Assault and the Justice System
  • Being an Ally

DRCC also provides individual counselling that is trauma-informed, free, and confidential for women who are survivors of sexual violence, are over 16, and live in the Durham region. Individual counselling services do have a wait list, however DRCC provides up to three counselling sessions during the interim to provide clients with in-the-moment coping skills and resources to support them while they are on the wait list.

Group counselling is available, including a Survivor’s Circle. The Survivor’s Circle is a peer-based drop-in support group for survivors of sexual violence.

Lastly, the DRCC offers presentations in the community, for instance through their awareness and prevention educational workshops for grade 12 students. They also provide workplace training around topics such as Sexual Violence in the Workplace, Vicarious Trauma, and Sexual Assault.

What is the Crisis, Support, and Information line?

The Crisis, Support, and Information line has a number of purposes. It offers confidential and non-judgemental support and information for people who have experienced any form of sexual violence (rape, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, human trafficking, etc.). It can also be utilized for support persons and caregivers, such as friends and family of a survivor of sexual violence. Advocates and community partners can also call the line for information, resources, and support.

Who is on the other side of the Crisis, Support, and Information line?

When you call, a trained volunteer or staff member will answer the phone and support you. All volunteers and staff have extensive (6 weeks) crisis intervention training around topics such as suicide, childhood trauma, anti-oppression and anti-racism, and rape culture.

How has the pandemic impacted the delivery of your services? What is the mode of delivery?

The pandemic has affected many folks greatly, which include sexual violence survivors. The DRCC has noticed an increase in need for their services, and is doing their best to meet the needs of our community. Currently, DRCC is offering services via phone and video. In-person services can be requested, but are not guaranteed.  

Do you have any alternative modes of delivery for individuals who require accommodations?

Durham Rape Crisis Centre provides services through video or phone, but also ask clients if there are any accessibility needs. Examples of accommodations include but are not limited to:

  • Hearing
  • Physical needs
  • Vision
  • Learning
  • Speech or language
  • Intellectual/developmental
  • Mental health

I’m a family member of someone who experienced sexual assault and I don’t know how to help them.

Durham Rape Crisis Centre has resources to support family and friends, as the support person to a sexual violence survivor. Please click the link below for more information on how to best support a survivors healing journey:

Family & Friends

Interested in connecting with Durham Rape Crisis Center?

DRCC’s Crisis, Support, and Information line can be contacted with questions or concerns at 905-668-9200. For general inquires and information, please email info@drcc.ca. For individual counselling, folks can e-mail michaela@drcc.ca

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has halted in-person services, DRCC is still available to help clients via Zoom and other remote methods of communication.

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