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Clinical Services Department

The SACE Clinical Services department includes our Client Care, Adult Counselling, Child and Youth Counselling, Group Counselling, and Police and Court Support programs. Our report for the 2021-2022 year outlines what it looks like to access Clinical services at SACE.

The clinical work provided by SACE is often quantified by the number of clients accessing our services, the number of counselling sessions offered or attended, or the number of people waiting for support. While these numbers paint a picture of incredible need in our community, they do not represent the heart of the work done by the clinical team, or the impact it has on the people we serve. The heart of this work is not quantifiable, but is quickly observed when working at SACE. It is something that begins the moment a client or caregiver acknowledges the need for help and chooses to visit our website or look into our services. These initial steps culminate in a moment of incredible vulnerability when a person chooses to reach out. In these moments, callers and future clients are met with compassion, warmth, and grace, whether by volunteers on our Support and Information Line, or by the team at reception. They take time to listen, to acknowledge the client’s courage, and to explain the process for accessing services. These conversations can be tough; it is impossible not to feel some of the fear that those on the phone feel.

“SACE saved my life and my spirit. I will be forever grateful to not only my counsellor but the wonderful ladies at reception.”  

Following the initial point of contact with the SACE office, clients complete an intake with a member of our Client Care team. Within these conversations, clients share why they are reaching out for services, how their lives have been impacted by sexual violence, and often, how they are struggling to cope. These conversations are not easy to have once, let alone all day long. Hearing how this experience has changed the trajectory of a person’s life can be overwhelming. Hearing about the challenges a client has had with navigating systems that are supposed to help them can be disheartening. Yet, up to six intakes are completed per day by each Client Care Specialist at SACE.

“Counselling through SACE was very impactful for me. I feel that I am more connected to myself. I know that I am kinder to myself and I am more assertive. I feel that I have an understanding of my value. I know now that it wasn’t my fault, and when I forget that, I know to remind myself.” 

“Having someone to be there every step of the way made [the court processes] feel less scary and that in turn put me at a bit more ease making the challenging situation slightly easier.” 

The moments we experience in the role of a Counsellor or Police and Court Support Advocate hold hope, such as when a client internalizes a sense of safety or holds their own against a defence lawyer. We hold these moments close because they are what we need when challenging moments happen; when learning that a client has returned to the hospital, has experienced another assault, or learns their case cannot proceed. Our work extends past traditional one-on-one support for many of our clients. We work to empower our clients to express their needs, and when this does not work, we amplify their voice with ours. While necessary, the investment in doing this is not always quantifiable. But knowing your voice matters: that can be felt. 

No staff member enters SACE thinking that the work they will do here will be easy. They enter because it is important, and because they believe that all people have a right to be heard, believed, and supported. The work done at SACE is special and powerful, because the heart of our work – the work that truly moves us toward a society free of sexual violence – often lies outside of the numbers.  From the bottom of our hearts, we say thank you to the Clinical Services Department 2022 team.

“SACE is a phenomenal service and its only drawback is we need more of it – more municipal, provincial, federal, and donation funding. This problem is rampant and is causing real damage. We all deserve better.” 

“SACE, and everyone here, has been super helpful and inclusive. I can’t imagine this year without you – I know I wouldn’t have been able to grow in this way without SACE.” 

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