Since 2010, the Sexual Violence Helpline has been responding to requests from anyone who has been affected by sexual violence, be they victims, loved ones or practitioners. Our listening and referral service is managed by the Montreal Sexual Assault Centre, which is mandated and financed by the Québec Ministère de la Justice and supported by the Secrétariat à la condition feminine (status of women). The support service was known as the Provincial Helpline for Victims of Sexual Assault until 2021, when it took on a new name to better reflect its service offering: Sexual Violence Helpline.
The Sexual Violence Helpline team
Requests for help are answered by counsellors from many backgrounds (criminology, social work, etc.) who have been specially trained in helping victims of sexual violence. A coordination team ensures that the provincial resource directory is kept up to date, maintains relations with partners, and provides ongoing training for counsellors.
Montreal Sexual Assault Centre (MSAC)
Since 1980, the MSAC has been offering services to recent victims of sexual assault. The Sexual Violence Helpline is one of the four services provided by the Centre, along with medico-social intervention services, individual clinical counselling and the Support Service for designated centres offering medico-social services for sexual assault victims.
The MSAC is one of four designated centres in Montreal. Counsellors provide support for anyone 18 years of age and over who was sexually assaulted during the past 12 months. Services include:
- Medical examination
- Testing for sexually transmitted infections
- Forensic samples
- Medical treatment and follow-up
- Psychosocial support
- Information on police and legal procedures
Individual clinical counselling
A team of professional clinical caseworkers offers a series of counselling sessions to individuals 18 years of age and over who were sexually assaulted during the past 12 months. The MSAC provides a supportive environment to help survivors reclaim their lives and recover their confidence and self-esteem.
A few sessions are also offered to a close friend or family member to help them to understand the impact of the violence experienced by the victim and what they can do to help. We also offer them a space where they can explore their own feelings and emotions in reaction to their loved one’s experience of victimization.
Support Service for Designated Centres Providing Medico-Social Services for Sexual Assault Victims
The Support Service provides support for members of medico-social teams (counsellors, nurses and doctors) working in designated centres across the province, helping to meet their clinical, organizational and training needs. The Service offers opportunities for networking and online training as well as the latest tools available to support team members’ work with victims.