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Wait list issues go beyond funding: PACE

Pace Community Support, Sexual Assault & Trauma Centre Executive Director Jacquie Aitken says the recent funding announcement from the provincial government is a step in the right direction to help those who have been a victim of sexual assault.

During the April 6th announcement, the province said the money allocated to centres across the province would help deal with these facilities’ growing waitlists. However, Aitken says while the wait list for services at PACE Centre is four months long, funding is not the main issue.

“Our wait list is tied to the ability to hire psychologists, and [social workers] to provide the service,” Aitken says. “Some of the most complex trauma you are going to be working with in our field is around sexual abuse and sexual assault.”

Aitken says the majority of individuals the PACE Centre deals with are adults who were sexually abused as children. She says when trauma, especially childhood trauma, is not dealt with, it can lead to chronic health problems both mentally and physically.

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“1998 research found adverse childhood experiences were highly correlated with everything from stroke to heart disease to depression and addictions.”

She adds right now the centre has two therapists working out of High Prairie along with the therapists in Grande Prairie. However, the hope is to hire a therapist for High Level along with additional therapists for the Grande Prairie region.

The provincial government committed $120,370 to the Grande Prairie-based sexual assault centre.

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