We are an
evolving, inclusive Society.
Our team includes members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ and gender diverse community. Committed to Truth & Reconciliation, we provide culturally competent, safe services. Acknowledging Canada's colonial history, we engage cultural humility - the life-long process of self-reflection to understand personal and systemic biases. Our trauma informed care places survivors at the centre of their own decision-making to restore personal power and foster agency, recognizes survivors' coping strategies as survival adaptations and attempts at solutions, and views survivors as resilient, strong, and courageous.
We’ll stand with you at the centre of your decision making and help you understand your rights as a victim of crime. We respect your choices.
A woman’s compassionate, empathetic, nurturing heart is often exploited by romantic partners who protect their insecurities by controlling her.
There are increasing vulnerabilities for youth to be sexually exploited due to the rampant and chronic misuse of social media and sexting. 1 in 5 youth are sexually solicited online and 75% of them don’t tell an adult caregiver.
Sexual assault is a physical assault that is sexualized. It is about power and control, not sexual attraction. Survivors are not responsible for anticipating, causing or stopping the violence. Sexual assault is any assault that violates the survivor’s sexual integrity.
Crisis Response Services
Sexual Assault Response Program (SARP)
SARP Advocates offer culturally competent, trauma informed support for survivors of recent sexualized violence who are seeking forensic medical care. In partnership with the Island Health Forensic Nurse Examiner Mobile Unit, SARP Advocates provide 24/7 crisis accompaniment to Duncan, Chemainus, Ladysmith and Nanaimo hospitals. Accompaniment support includes practical/emotional support, information, advocacy, coordination for wraparound services and follow-up support. SARP follow-up support includes response planning for next-step actions, justice-related services, and counseling.
Violence Against Women Counseling
Responding to survivors of gender-based violence requires a specific skill set steeped in feminist theory that applies a critical analysis of power and control in relationships. We see the wisdom in survivors’ hidden acts of resistance to violence and abuse. We trust in the survivor’s innate knowing of their own recovery path. Counseling services are provided through the Crime Victim Assistance Program – a program assisting survivors in coping with the effects of interpersonal violence. On approved claims, CVAP provides various benefits to assist in recover such as counseling and protective measures.
Trauma Recovery Programs
Transformation Through Movement
An 8 week program, “Transformation Through Movement” combines mindfulness practices with dynamic movement. Regardless of age or ability, self-paced conscious movement allows survivors to reset chronic stress response states such as fight/flight. This therapeutic somatic approach transforms shame into resilience, cultivates dignity, and creates positive experiences of trauma recovery allowing survivors to image more for themselves through body-based intuition. A workout for body and soul, this program takes survivors beyond trauma-imposed limitations into new depths of connection with Self and others.
Creatively Writing Our Recovery
A 7 week program combining mindfulness with expressive arts and creative writing. We explore gentle ways of calming our nervous system to reduce fight/flight tension, hyper-vigilance, and anxiety. We use external clues as entertaining mirrors for self-reflection. We use compassionate inquiry and curiosity to explore beliefs, emotions, and states of being. Activities focus on the foundational elements of First Stage trauma recovery, “Safety & Stability”. We strengthen our self-trust. We become our own mentor. Trauma informed self-discovery transforms the impact of gender-based violence into resilience, hope and celebration.
Calling Ourselves Home
“Calling Ourselves Home” is an ongoing, culturally competent, restorative yoga program for Indigenous women survivors of gender-based violence. Elders bridge cultural teachings with yogic principles weaving spiritual commonalities for health and well being. “Calling Ourselves Home” is a gentle, cultural invitation to our spirit to return to our heart. Restorative yoga focuses on relaxation, comfort, and physical awareness to calm our nervous system. The goal is to relieve stress and create positive experiences of connecting with our body.
Honouring client’s resistance to oppression and abuse and cultivating dignity for survivors of abuse and associated trauma is Warmland Women’s Support Services Society’s Response-based Practice to client-centered counseling in the Cowichan Valley.
A client-centered approach invites the client to take an active role in their counseling with the counselor being supportive not directive. The client is at the centre of their own decision making. Guidance comes from the client’s instincts and the counselor becomes an ally and advocate walking alongside the client. The counselor contributes expertise when appropriate to expand upon the client’s understanding of the root cause of their struggles and suggests referrals to appropriate resources to build the client’s support network. The counselor supports the client to discover their strengths and believe in themselves. A client-centered counselor encourages the client to develop a relationship with ‘Self’ fully aware that reconciliation with Self is at the heart of all healing. Goals of a client-centered approach are increased self-esteem, independence and openness to self-mastery.
People are capable of self-healing and personal growth which leads to self-actualization, an important concept in client-centered counseling. Self-actualization refers to the tendency of all human beings to move forward, grow, and reach their full potential.
Whenever people are abused we do many things to oppose the abuse and keep our dignity and self-respect. We always try to reduce, prevent or stop the abuse in some way. These responses to abuse are called “resistance”. Perpetrators know that we will resist abuse and either plan in advance to sabotage our resistance or take action in the moment to interfere with or stop our resistance. People tend not to notice how we resist abuse. For example, relationship violence can be very dangerous so women will resist in ways that are not obvious. Hidden acts of resistance are our safest responses to violence and yet make us vulnerable to the judgments of others who do not see our responses as actions that increase our safety or preserve our dignity.
A response-based approach also considers the language used to describe the abuse or violence. Often the words we choose minimize the abusive acts, dismiss perpetrator responsibility, conceal our acts of resistance, and place blame on the victim. Language affects how we interpret acts of violence and therefore how we respond whether it be criminal justice system intervention or emotional support.
Response-based counseling examines not only the client’s response to abuse but the responses received when they reported the violence. Was the client believed or dismissed? Was the perpetrator held accountable or was the client blamed? How does this response from others impact the client? Their view of themself? The likelihood of reporting abuse in the future?