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Free counselling for sexual assault victims in Vernon

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Vernon’s Archway Society For Domestic Peace’s sexual assault response program, now in its second year, is seeing a boost in referrals. (

April is sexual assault awareness month, and Vernon’s Archway Society is reminding individuals of the resources available to them.

In 2023, the Society began offering sexual assault clinical counselling programs for sexual assault survivors who are 13 years of age or older in the North Okanagan. Their are 12 free sessions available, which can help surviros work through post-trauma responses.

“We’re really excited that we’re going to be able to continue, not only with the coordination aspect and ensuring that survivors of sexual assault get supported as quickly as possible, but we also have the ability to provide the actual clinical counselling they need as soon as they need it,” said Micki Materi, executive director of programs for Archway Society.

Archway provides numerous other services, including:

  • Support accessing medical care and forensic exams (information, transportation and accompaniment)

  • Connection to community resources
  • Discussing the different options for reporting the assault
  • Navigation of the justice system
  • Ongoing emotional support
  • Clinical counselling

“Archway Society delivers sexual assault services throughout the North Okanagan using survivor-centred, trauma-informed, inclusive, and culturally safe approaches,” said Kelli Sullivan, community programs manager for Archway Society. “Our specialized staff also work in partnership with our other programs, such as Community-Based Victim Services and Oak Child and Youth Advocacy Centre, depending on the age and service needs of the client.”

The 2024 theme for the sexual assault awareness month is Building Connected Communities.

In 2021, there were 34,242 police-reported sexual assaults in Canada, and 6,065 in B.C.

The rate of sexual assault was more than five times higher for women than men.

Only six per cent of incidents were brought to the attention of police and the rate of sexual assault is approximately three times higher against Indigenous women than non-Indigenous women.

Young women ages 15 to 24 make up 47 per cent of sexual offence victims.

People who identify as homosexual or bisexual have a rate of experiencing sexual assault six times higher than those who identify as heterosexual and transgender people report higher

rates of both physical and sexual assault compared to cisgender people;

The rate of sexual assault among those with a disability are approximately two times higher than those with no disability.

If you need immediate support, call the Archway’s 24/7 number: 250-542-1122. More information on the services can be found at

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Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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