Preventing Sexual Violence in the Banff Region

Preventing Sexual Violence in the Banff Region

A new regional coordinator at the Banff YWCA will improve community collaboration and ensure sexual assault survivors have the support they need in the Bow Valley region.

Minister Sabir and MLA Cameron Westhead speak with participants and staff at the Banff YWCA.

Each year, hundreds of people from across Canada and around the world move to the Banff National Park region to take on temporary work in the tourism industry. To help build a culture of consent in the area, the Government of Alberta is partnering with the Banff YWCA to work with local stakeholders to raise awareness and improve collaboration to prevent assault.

“No Albertan should live in fear or suffer alone. By working with our partners to create awareness and change the culture we will begin the work of ending sexual assault. Our government is committed to continuing to support survivors and promoting gender equality.”

~Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services

The province is funding the regional coordinator position and data analysis to further understand and address sexual assault in the region. This initiative builds on the success of the 2015 government-funded Harmony Project which created a Bow Valley-specific, coordinated response plan for sexual assault. The project included a prevention and awareness campaign and training for emergency responders and community partners. It streamlines and improves services for victims of sexual assault.

“Sexual assault is the most under-reported crime in Canada. That’s why we are training frontline providers on sexual assault intervention, raising awareness about consent and making sure local agencies, health and police work together.”

~Connie MacDonald, chief executive officer, Banff YWCA

This year, Premier Rachel Notley proclaimed May as Sexual Violence Awareness month and this funding is part of the government’s commitment to end sexual violence by improving workplace response to sexual harassment and assault.

The Banff YWCA has received more than $300,000 since 2015 through Family and Community Safety Program grants to advance the work of sexual violence prevention, training for support workers and resources for survivors. The Banff YWCA will also receive $180,000 annually from the government to support ongoing delivery of sexual assault services in the region.

The Family and Community Safety Program provides grants to community projects to address family and sexual violence, child sexual abuse, and supports for families and capacity building, as well as promoting healthy relationships. Since the inception of the program in 2015, $33.7 million has been invested in community projects.