New WRPS campaign raises awareness

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Content warning: This article mentions sexual assault and violence.

The Waterloo Regional Police Service has partnered with five local organizations to launch the ‘Help is Here’ campaign.  

One of those organizations is the Sexual Support Centre of Waterloo Region. According to an email to The Cord from Saranyaa Tharmalingam, their manager of counselling services, “the Help is Here campaign is an initiative created by Waterloo Regional Police Services to help raise awareness around supports for survivors of sexual violence.”  

Other organizations include the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre of Waterloo Region, Family and Children Services, and the Victim Services of Waterloo Region.  

“There is a lot of misinformation around what sexual violence is and what it can look like,” Tharmalingam said.  

A video included in the campaign is aimed at clarifying the information landscape surrounding sexual violence, and also “where survivors can get support from a trauma-specific lens and understanding.”  

Help is Here is the culmination of a grant received by the WRPS “to do social media awareness work around sexual violence (SV) support and prevention in the region.” 

This year, according to the email sent by Tharmalingam, the campaign was particularly “focused on raising awareness around supports for the BIPOC community members and to give information on rights, legal aspects, and support centres, and programming for survivors.”  

The SASC has an “online volunteer-run chat service and support line, legal advocacy, public education, groups and workshops, and individual counselling services [with which] we are able to support survivors and those supporting survivors.”  

According to another email, sent by Staff Sergeant Jen Ranta of WRPS, the campaign hopes to highlight “all of the supports and resources available to sexual violence survivors in Waterloo region.”  

“The goal is to wrap survivors in community care, while also educating the community on sexual violence and how to prevent it.”  

It is also “to raise awareness about sexual violence,” Ranta said in the email.  

This includes spreading information about “how to report [sexual violence] and how we connect survivors with community support.” 

According to a video about the campaign on WRPS’ website, #HelpIsHereWR hopes to foster “a collaborative approach to support survivors of sexual assault” in the Waterloo Region.  

“The Waterloo Region Police Service and our partners believe that everyone impacted by sexual violence should be treated with respect and dignity, fairness and honesty, and in a professional and bias-free manner,” the website says. 

Victims of sexual assault or anyone interested in learning about the resources available for sexual assault is encouraged to check out the website.  


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