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$250K donation for Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region

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The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region has received a $250,000 donation to expand its individual counselling program which, according to the agency, “has seen unprecedented service requests in recent years.”

In a media release, the SASC said more than 200 survivors are facing a year-long wait to speak to a counsellor.

Funding from the province, they add, has not increased in over a decade.

The $250,000 donation was made by localphilanthropists Bob and Judy Astley.

“Due to their generosity, more survivors will receive timely, wrap-around care from SASC starting today,” said Sara Casselman, the SASC’s executive director, in the release. “The Astley's gift also launches our effort to eradicate current wait times in the years ahead."

The agency cites several factors that have contributed to longer wait times, including the #MeToo movement and an increase in gender-based violence.

The announcement comes as communities across the province speak out about intimate partner violence. Dozens have already declared it an epidemic.

The Waterloo Regional Police Service recently released new data about intimate partner violence. They said there were 103 strangulation charges laid locally in 2020, 135 charges in 2021, 123 charges in 2022, and 75 charges so far this year.

"Due to chronic underfunding in our sector, we are fundraising to meet the need for community-based sexual assault support services in Waterloo Region,” Casselman said. “We are searching for other community leaders to rise to the challenge. We invite a conversation with anyone who wishes to join us in our goal to end current wait times."

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