May is Sexual Violence Awareness month, which helps to raise awareness about sexual violence and helps to promote a culture of consent.

Sexual assault traumatizes the survivors and can have a long-lasting effect on the health and relationships of survivors.

Of Alberta's roughly 4.3 million residents, around 1.8 million have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.

"That's 1.8 million too many that are faced with the traumatic impacts of sexual violence," said Minister of Children and Family Services Searle Turton at a media conference on April 30th. "The effects of this type of abuse can be long-lasting, life altering, and in speaking with survivors around the province and staff at Sexual Assault Centres across the Province, I've heard how it impacts every aspect of their wellbeing and their relationships. Not to mention their ability to trust and feel safe. No one and no Albertan deserves that."

To ensure the survivors of sexual violence are receiving the help they need, the provincial government has committed $10 million over the next three years to Sexual Assault Centres.

They will provide these centres with $3 million in funding in 2024-2025, which brings the annual investment in 15 different Sexual Assault Centres across Alberta to almost $17 million.

Another $3 million will be given to these centres in 2025-2026, with $4 million being given in 2026-2027.

Anyone of any age is able to turn to these centres for crisis intervention, counselling, safety, educational support, police, and court assistance.

This investment will help people to heal and move forward.

The government will hold a roundtable with sexual assault centres in the upcoming weeks to determine how this funding can best be distributed to ensure resources are available everywhere across the province.

"A core part of how we can work to end gender-based violence, including sexual violence, is to support survivors," said the Minister of Arts, Culture, and Status of Women Tanya Fir at the media conference on April 30th. "That is why the announcement [on April 30th] is so important. Investing an additional $10 million to support Sexual Assault Centres will help survivors in their journey towards healing. These centres are hope."

This $10 million investment is on top of the $54-million the government committed over four-years to develop a made-in-Alberta strategy to put an end to gender-based violence and help support survivors.

In the first year of that agreement, Children and Family Services is receiving $2.55 million to help reinforce their existing work that is currently underway.

The Alberta government also provides $540,000 for Rural Sexual Assault Support Grants that help provide support to survivors in rural and remote communities.

They also provide $1.9 million towards counselling services.

Alberta's One Line for Sexual Violence is also available for anyone who has experienced any form of sexual violence, and they can be reached at 1-866-403-8000.

They will help survivors to connect with relevant resources and access crisis support.

Those who have reached out to Alberta's One Line for Sexual Violence has increased over the last few years, with 2021 seeing a 41 per cent increase, 2022 increasing by 67 per cent, and a 65 per cent increase in 2023.

On top of this $10 million investment, the provincial government also provides almost $3.4 million every year to eight Child Advocacy Centres across the province that support vulnerable children and youth who have experienced any form of abuse.

To see about the different ways someone could receive help, click here.