Transforming Lives since 1989...

Since 1989 the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region has been transforming lives in our community.

In 1978, the 3-year-old Waterloo Rape Distress Centre was forced to close when its funding was cut; its final appeal for $5000 had been denied. For the next 11 years, there were few community supports available to survivors of sexual violence. Waterloo Region became the largest area in Ontario without critical sexual assault services.

Local women began to strategize. Many of them survivors themselves, they were determined to build a strong grassroots centre that could truly respond to the community need.

In October 1989, with an anonymous $1000 gift, donated airtime from an answering service, our 24 Hour Support Line was launched. This was due to the efforts of 25 volunteers, 10 of whom worked endless shifts during those first months.

Two months later, a tragedy stunned the nation. A
gunman roamed the corridors of Montreal's École Polytechnique killing 14 women. This massacre became a galvanizing moment in which national mourning turned into outrage and action on violence against women.

In response, in June 1990 Mutual Life of Canada donated $30,000 to assist in the Centre’s establishment. This gift, combined with community donations, allowed SASC to rent office space and hire a staff person. Shortly after, provincial funding was secured to provide a base for operations.

SASC has now grown to 15 staff members, 80 volunteers, and 3 locations.
We offer free, wrap-around services and support to people and their families who have experienced sexual violence. We provide individual and group counselling, a 24 Hour Support Line, and advocacy and accompaniments for those navigating court, police, and medical processes. We have a dedicated Anti-Human Trafficking Program. In addition to support services, we’re committed to preventing sexual violence through education and social justice work.

In 1989, a handful of local women took action to support survivors of sexual violence. Today we still rely on our generous community to support survivors in their healing journey.

Click here to donate and become part of our herstory.