Crisis Support at the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre
How can you access crisis support at VSAC?
For many people, the initial point of contact with our centre will be our Access Line. The Access worker will help you determine, by phone or email contact, which of our services best fit your current needs. Generally, if a person has experienced any form of sexualized violence within the last six months, they will be offered the services of one of our crisis support workers. If the assault/abuse occurred farther back than that ( i.e. several months, or even years ago), individuals may still be offered crisis support, depending on what type of challenges they are currently having.
What is Crisis Counselling like?
Crisis support differs from longer-term counselling in the following ways:
Crisis support workers are not setting out to do any “deep therapy”, or trauma processing. We focus on the Here and Now. We listen to what’s coming up for clients in this moment, in these past few days or weeks – particularly with regards to their experiences in relating to others at this time, and their inner experience.
Relating to others at this time may come with challenges because survivors are also coping with how others are reacting to their disclosure: sometimes the experience of kindness, concern, and protectiveness from friends and family may feel overwhelming or unasked for; sometimes survivors experience negative responses, and these can be as painful, angering or saddening as the assault itself. It really helps to talk these experiences through with someone who is listening very carefully and respectfully.
A person’s inner experience (which is so often connected to our outer, social, experience) will naturally reflect physiological adaptions to the recent extreme stressor. For example, heightened anxiety, vigilance, nightmares, a felt need to isolate, a generalized sadness.
Crisis support workers can help a person navigate these personal and social experiences, and can also offer realistic, “do-able” strategies for getting through a particularly tough time. Again, a call or email to our Access Line is the place to start.
For immediate emotional support, please call the Vancouver Island Crisis Line (24-Hours): 1-888-494-3888