The Sexual Assault Survivors' Centre Sarnia-Lambton was founded in 1982. A group of 40 concerned citizens met at Lambton College in January 1982 concerned about the lack of appropriate services for sexual assault victims.
A task force was established and with the assistance of a small grant, statistics were compiled and the need for a victim service was apparent.
In July 1982 training sessions were held with the assistance of the Hamilton Rape Crisis Centre. Staff were ready to provide support services for those who had been sexually assaulted.
In May 1983 the 24-hour crisis line began on a pager system. Training workshops were offered on a quarterly basis to interested volunteers. Today the 24-hour crisis line continues to be an integral core service offered by trained volunteers when the office is closed.
In 1985 a grant was received from the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton to sponsor a seminar on the procedure involved in reporting a sexual assault. The agency was supported by chocolate bar sales, bake sales, 50/50 draws and donations. Then in 1987 funding from the Ministry of the Solicitor General allowed for more sustainable operating expenses.
The Sexual Assault Survivors' Centre Sarnia-Lambron continues to offer a comprehensive range of services including individual and group counselling, advocacy, accompaniment and public education.
Take Back The Night Walks have been held yearly in Sarnia since 1993 to bring awareness and education on the issues of sexual violence. Community members gather to hear from local advocates and to march in solidarity.
The Sexual Assault Survivors' Centre Sarnia-Lambton became members of the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres, OCRCC in 1986 and in 2006 Sarnia hosted the annual general meeting of OCRCC welcoming over 20 member centres to our community.
SASCSL is involved in many community initiatives to bring awareness and education on the topic of sexual violence while also offering opportunities for healing for all survivors.
One such project was the Footsteps - Tribute to Courage - Never Walk alone wwhich was completed in 2005. A total of 63 survivors, women and men participated in many groups to create their art work and messages to be show cased on flagstones along with their footprints. The path was built in 2 stages over a 7 year period and was situated in Centennial Park. Today the path is being re-located to a new area of Centennial Park.
Public Education is key to ending violence against women and children. A 3 year Ministry of the Attorney General grant allowed for survivors to participate in a social project. A risk reduction resource was developed, Knowledge is Power, KIP puzzles that could be used with youth from 4 - 18 years. KIP is an interactional resource tool that brings awareness on safety issues, disclosures relationships and boundaries.
Honouring the work of women leaders in our community and celebrating these achievements are held on International Women's Day March 8. We have honored rural women in Lambton County, Indigenous and First Nation women and women working to end human trafficking.
SASCSL work has also been honoured by being named to the Mayor's honour list in 2006 and in 2011 receiving The Attorney General's Victim Services Award of Distinction.
Ending violence against women and children, working with men and women survivors of childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault victims, human trafficking victims and advocating for change is a priority and commitment of SASCSL. Provincial work on the Sexual Violence Action Plan with other violence against women organizations and attending many VAW summits has brought recognition that sexual violence is everyone's issue.