We want you to know that what happened to you is not your fault, and you are not alone.

This section of our website is intended to provide information that may be helpful for individuals who have recently experienced a sexual assault. If you are currently in danger, please call 9.1.1 to get immediate help. If you are safe, feel free to use the side bars on the left to browse this section. To safely and quickly exit this website at any time, you can click on the "Quick Exit" button on the top right of your screen.

Our Support and Information Line is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week/365 days a year, and can be reached by dialing 780.423.4121. The line is available for anyone who has experienced sexual assault or abuse, as well as to those who are supporting anyone impacted by it.

For anyone who has recently experienced sexual assault, the Support and Information Line can help by providing supportive listening and important information about sexual assault. The conversation is led by the caller, and the caller will never have to talk about anything they don't want to talk about.

Please note: We always do our best to ensure that conversations on the Support and Information Line are confidential, but there are some circumstances in which we may have to break this confidentiality. If it is known or suspected that anyone under the age of 18 is being hurt, Albertans are legally obligated to make a report to Child and Family Services. Additionally, if we suspect someone might harm themselves or others we may be required to reach out to authorities. In both of these instances contacting authorities is our last resort; we value and work to preserve the confidentiality of our calls.

Whether or not you receive medical attention following a sexual assault is up to you; you are in control of this process. This section provides options that are available to you if you decide to seek medical help in the Edmonton area.

Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)

SART is a team of Registered Nurses who have specialized education in sexual assault care. They are trained to provide compassionate, confidential, and non-judgemental care to anyone who has been sexually assaulted in the last 7 days and who is 14 years of age or older.

What To Expect

The SART nurse will offer a physical and genital exam to look for injuries that may have occurred from the sexual assault and can help to determine risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections if relevant. The nurse will help with any necessary treatments and provide information about follow-up care. For confidentiality, this examination will happen in a private, walled room.

The SART nurse can also arrange for you to talk to the police or RCMP (if you choose to report) and can help you find a safe place to stay (whether with friends, family, or in a shelter) if you do not feel safe going home.

How to Access SART

You can access a SART nurse 24 hours a day by going to an emergency room of one of the Edmonton and area hospitals listed below. When you arrive, tell the triage nurse you would like to see the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) or that you've been sexually assaulted and they will contact the SART nurse on duty. You will likely see the SART nurse within an hour.

Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital

9401 86 Avenue
Fort Saskatchewan

Grey Nuns Community Hospital

1100 Youville Drive West
Edmonton

Leduc Community Hospital

4210 48 Street
Leduc

Misericordia Community Hospital

16940 87 Avenue
Edmonton

Northeast Community Health Centre

14007 50 Street
Edmonton

Royal Alexandra Hospital

10240 Kingsway Avenue
Edmonton

Strathcona Community Hospital

9000 Emerald Drive
Sherwood Park

Sturgeon Community Hospital

201 Boudreau Road
St. Albert

University of Alberta Hospital

8440 112 Street
Edmonton

WestView Health Centre

4405 South Park Drive
Stony Plain

Family Doctor

Making an appointment with your family doctor can also be a good way to get medical help. If you do not have a family doctor, you can find an available doctor by using the tools listed on the Alberta Health Services website, which can be found here.

Stollery Children's Hospital

The Child and Adolescent Protection Centre (CAP) at the Stollery Children's Hospital is able to help anyone who has been sexually assaulted in the last 3 days and who is 13 years of age or under. This program is available through referral from Child and Family Services.

If you do not have a safe place to stay following a sexual assault, there are several emergency shelters that may be able to help.

As of the time this page was created, there are no shelters in Alberta specifically for men between the ages of 22 and 64 who are fleeing abuse or assault. To learn about other housing options, you can reach out to Alberta 211, a government and non-profit referral service, by dialing 2.1.1 within Edmonton or 1.888.482.4696 from outside of Edmonton. Alternatively, you can access the Alberta 211 online database here.

Below is a list of some of the shelters in the Edmonton area. For each of the shelters listed below, you can call the phone number provided to speak with a staff member about the intake process.

SAGE Seniors Safe House
Edmonton

780.702.1520 (intake)
780.454.8888 (24-hour Seniors Abuse Helpline)
People Served: seniors (60+)

WIN House
Edmonton

780.479.0058 (24-Hour Helpline and access to services)
People Served: women (trans femme, non-binary, and cis), with or without children

Women's Emergency Accommodation Centre (WEAC)
Edmonton

780.424.7543
People Served: individuals and families, including trans femme and people who are non-binary

Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS)
Edmonton

780.468.7070
People Served: youth (15-21)

The shelters above are places that have expressed to us that they have trans-inclusive policies. However, they may still be structured and practice in ways that are gendered and do not account for all gender expressions and identities. If you want someone to contact these resources on your behalf the Pride Centre of Edmonton 780.488.3234 offers this service.

Additional Shelters in Alberta

To be automatically directed to a shelter near you in Alberta, you can dial 1.866.331.3933. To view a map of all emergency shelters for people fleeing abuse or assault in Alberta, visit the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters website here.

There is no correct path to healing and no timeline on getting support. SACE support services are available to anyone impacted by sexual assault or abuse, even if it happened a long time ago. These services include:

24-Hour Support & Information Line

At any time, our Support and Information Line is here. Call 780.423.4121 to talk or click here to learn more about it.

Counselling

To learn about our no-fee counselling services and the intake process, click here to be directed to our Counselling section.

Legal Options

There is no time limit for reporting a sexual assault. To learn about reporting options, click here to be directed to our Reporting and Court Support section.

If someone discloses to you that they have been sexually assaulted or abused, know that they have trusted you, and the most important thing you can do is to listen, believe them, and support whatever they choose to do.

In this section you will find information on what to do if someone discloses an experience of sexual assault or abuse to you. Use the sidebars on the left to access the two categories: disclosures from adults (over 18) and disclosures from children (under 18).

If you as a supporter are in need of counselling recommendations or other referrals, feel free to call the SACE office at 780.423.4102.

Whether the experience happened recently or a long time ago, the following points can be helpful in guiding your response to a disclosure of sexual assault or abuse. If you would like to talk to someone about how to respond to a disclosure or about how receiving a disclosure has impacted you, call the SACE 24-Hour Support and Information Line any time at 780.423.4121.

Listen

Listening without judgement can help people to feel comfortable, safe, and supported.

  • Allow the person space to say as much or as little as they want by being patient and allowing natural silences to happen.
  • Avoid asking questions, especially about details of what happened. If you need to ask a question, avoid starting it with the word "why" as these questions can make people feel like they are being judged.

Believe

Many people who experience sexual assault worry they will not be believed and may have actually experienced this in the past. Because not being believed has very damaging impacts on healing, it is important to show that you believe the person you are supporting with statements like:

  • "I'm sorry that happened to you."
  • "I'm glad you told me."
  • "I believe you."

Offer your help

Often, people reach out because they are in need of some kind of assistance, even if that's just a supporting ear. Because sexual assault takes power and control away, it is important to give power back to the person you are supporting by listening to what they need instead of doing what you think is best for them. You can use phrases like:

  • "Is there anything I can do to help you?"
  • "I'm here if you need anything."
  • "Let me know if you think of something helpful I can do for you."

Explore options

Instead of telling the person you're supporting what you think they should do, it can be helpful to provide options and let them choose what they would like to do. Some options include:

  • Doing nothing. There are many reasons that people impacted by sexual violence choose not to report or seek assistance, and it is important to respect these choices. The person you are supporting is in charge of their situation.
  • Seek medical attention. There are many options for getting medical help in the Edmonton area and you can find these options outlined here.
  • Report. There is no time limit to reporting a sexual assault. To learn about reporting options, click here.
  • Seek counselling and other support.
    • The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton offers short-term (15 weeks) counselling at no fee. To learn more about the intake process and our counselling options, click here. SACE also operates a 24-Hour Support and Information Line available at 780.423.4121 - learn more here.
    • The Saffron Centre (located in Sherwood Park) offers short or long-term counselling on a sliding fee scale that ranges from $20-$160 per hour. Learn more about their services here.

Take Care of Yourself

Hearing a disclosure can be very upsetting, and if you have past experience with sexual trauma it may be triggering for you. It is very important to take care of yourself when you are supporting another person.

  • Think about what your limits are (i.e. how will I know when I need to take a break? How will I know when I need to ask for help?) and respect these boundaries.
  • Talk to someone you trust about how supporting this person is impacting you, whether it's a friend, family member, counselling service or support phone line.
  • Practice self-awareness by listening to yourself and allowing yourself to feel your own feelings.

Supporter's Night

About once a month, SACE hosts a 2-hour information session for people who are supporting friends or loved ones through their healing journey. To find out when the next Supporters' Night is, click here.

This section references resources provided by Victoria Sexual Assault Centre and the U of A Sexual Assault Centre.

Whether you’re a child’s parent, relative, friend, teacher or someone else they trust, the following points are important to keep in mind when a child is disclosing sexual abuse or assault. If you would like to talk to someone about how to respond to a disclosure or about how receiving a disclosure has impacted you, call the SACE 24-Hour Support and Information Line any time at 780.423.4121.

Try to stay calm

Receiving a disclosure from a child can bring up intense emotions. However, it is important to remain calm because if your emotions are too strong or out of control, the child may feel guilty about upsetting you and may stop telling you how they feel in order to protect you. If you do express how you are feeling, make sure to explain that the child is your main concern and that they have not done anything wrong.

Validate their feelings

However a child is feeling when they disclose to you is exactly how they should be feeling, even if those feelings do not align with your expectations. It is normal for children to have all kinds of negative and positive emotional responses; for example, it is common for children to have loving feelings toward the non-exploitative part of their relationship with the person who hurt them, especially if that person was a caregiver. Tell the child that how they are feeling is okay and makes sense.

Tell the child you believe what they're telling you

Even though it is very rare for a child to lie about being sexually assaulted, it is often a child's biggest fear that the people they care about won't believe their story. Therefore, reaching out to an adult takes a lot of courage and strength, and if their story is minimized or denied they may be pushed back into silence. By showing the child that you take what they are saying to be true, you are helping them to feel safe and to feel more comfortable seeking help.

Tell the child it is not their fault

Child sexual abuse is never the child's fault; telling the child it is not their fault can help to reduce feelings of guilt and self-blame. Reassure the child that however they responded when it was happening is normal and exactly what they needed to do at the time to get through it. Reassure them that the only person who did something wrong was the offender and that the child didn't (and couldn't) do anything to make it happen.

Ask permission before giving physical support

It is important to not assume that physical affection - like hugs - will be helpful to the child because at this time uninvited physical touch may remind them of how it felt when they were being hurt. Instead, it is up to the child to decide if physical support will be helpful or stressful, and it is up to you to listen to their words and body language. Although it can be difficult, do your best to not take their reactions personally.

Avoid making promises

Ensure the child that you will help them, but do not make promises that you may not be able to keep; You cannot know how the authorities will respond to the report, how others will respond to the child's disclosure, or what will happen to the offender.

Report

In Alberta, all adults (over 18) have the legal responsibility to report anytime they suspect a child may be experiencing any type of abuse; you do not need a disclosure to report. Do not contact the parents if their child discloses sexual assault - you must always report it to authorities first.

Call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.387.KIDS (5437); reports can be made anonymously.

  • Provide as much information as possible:
    • Prior to calling, write down detailed notes of what the child said.
    • Report even if you only have partial information.
  • Document your conversation including content, date, time, and the name of the person you spoke to.

Take Care of Yourself

Hearing a disclosure of child sexual abuse can be very upsetting, and if you have past experience with sexual trauma it may be triggering for you. It is very important to take care of yourself when you are supporting a child.

  • Think about what your limits are (i.e. how will I know when I need to take a break? How will I know when I need to ask for help?) and respect these boundaries.
  • Talk to someone you trust about how supporting this person is impacting you, whether it's a friend, family member, counselling service or support phone line.
  • Practice self-awareness by listening to yourself and allowing yourself to feel your own feelings.

This section references resources provided by Victoria Sexual Assault Centre.