Sexual Assault Services of Saskatchewan (SASS) has launched a two-pronged strategy to raise awareness of issues around sexual assault in the province. 

The first is Sexual Assault Awareness Week declared to be the week of May 13th. The week simply highlights some of the startling facts and statistics around the prevalence of sexual violence in the province. Sadly among those are a marked increase in reported sexual assaults in the provinces two largest cities. From 2017 to 2018, there has been an increase of 38.6% in Regina, while Saskatoon's increase of reported assaults tracks at 10.3%. A reported one in three women has been the victims of sexual assault by the age of 18, as has one in six men prior to the age of 18. SASS reports that 997 assailants out of every 1,000 sexual assaults walk free.

SASS Executive Director Kerrie Isaac outlines the goal of the week-long campaign, "It's to make sexual violence a topic of conversation, so we encourage public dialogue on the issue even though many people feel uncomfortable discussing it. Through education, awareness, and support, we need to start addressing this." She acknowledges that Saskatchewan has the second highest sexual victimization rate in Canada. 

To help spread the message, SASS works with a network of eleven partner agencies, one of which is Partners Family Support in Humboldt. The collaboration extends from there to government ministries, health care, law enforcement, and other community organizations.

Out of this collaboration comes the second key strategy which is the 22 point action plan born out of an 18-month collaborative planning process. In their press release, SASS and Isaac state, "Saskatchewan can be a province where every person is free from the threat, fear, or experience of sexual violence. With the appropriate investment and engagement, this action plan puts us on this path." 

The Saskatchewan Sexual Violence Action Plan draws from the expertise of professionals and survivors alike and calls on various organizations to champion the goal of eliminating sexual violence. There are 22 actions proposed within the document. Among the keystones of the plan are public awareness planning and education, particularly with youth. 

A second key element involves advocating additional funding for partner agencies to shore up their abilities to support victims and to engage in communication and teaching activities. Isaac says, "With all that has come to light in the last few years, including the "Me Too" movement and the Ghomeshi case, the partner agencies have seen a definite increase in providing support for survivors. We know through our research that the first place survivors go is to mental health resources and our partner agencies."

Isaac reinforces that all 22 of the recommendations are important, but a critical component is public engagement.

The full report and extensive support information are available at