May 31st, 2017
Note: Media interviews will be available on June 1, 2017
May 31 , 2017 (Kitchener, ON) – The Waterloo Region Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre (WRSA/DVTC), a program of St. Mary’s General Hospital, received the Attorney General’s Victim Services Award of Distinction on Wednesday, May 31. St Mary’s was honoured for its high quality services and continuous support for victims of crimes, including those impacted by human trafficking.
The awards are given annually to recognize the exceptional achievements of dedicated professionals and volunteers in the field of victim services, as well as the important work of individual victims. Learn more about the award and the 2017 recipients here.
Diane Wilkinson, Interim Vice President Quality and Performance Management said “St. Mary’s is humbled to accept this award on behalf of those who are victimized and deserve to be treated with compassion, dignity and respect. We are proud of our highly-skilled team and are inspired by the courage of those we are privileged to help on their journey to recovery.”
Serving over 500 clients last year WRSA/DVTC has a team of nurses and social workers on call 24/7 to respond to the requirements of sexual assault and domestic violence victims. Clients receive rapid access to specially trained professionals in a private setting in the emergency departments at St. Mary’s and also Cambridge Memorial Hospital. The team also provides ongoing counselling, helps link victims with community services and operates a pediatric clinic for known or suspected child sexual assault/abuse. The pediatric clinic, launched in 2015, has helped 85 children to date.
In 2016, the WRSA/DVTC partnered with the Waterloo Region Police Service to launch the Multidisciplinary Response to Combat Human Trafficking. This program is the first of its kind in the region, acting as the initial point of contact for human trafficking. So far 10 victims have received help at St. Mary’s and Cambridge Memorial, including emergency medical care, support and referrals to other community services. The WRSA/DVTC also works in collaboration with the Waterloo Region Police Service as part of the Family Violence Project of Waterloo Region, an initiative of 12 partner agencies who provide comprehensive services to victims from one location.
Julia Manuel, Manager of the WRSA/DVTC, says victims are grateful for the support. “They tell us that we are the first people who have actually listened to them and given them the help they need. Combatting human trafficking requires a community effort and we are fortunate in Waterloo Region to have committed partners working collaboratively to help victims and ultimately reduce the incidence of these crimes,” she said.
Bianca Moldovan, Communications Specialist
519-749-6578, ext. 6412