July 18, 2017

Expressive Therapy: body-based therapies for trauma counselling

Posted in SACE Programs, Support, We can all do something tagged at 5:37 pm by sacetalks

About SACE

The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) exists to support people impacted by sexual violence and engage communities to promote respect and uphold a culture of consent. Our services include individual and group counselling for people ages 3 and up, public education, policy consultation, information and support sessions, a 24-Hour Support and Information line, and outreach to our diverse communities. All of our services are individually tailored to meet people where they are at.

Each year, we provide thousands of hours of counselling to survivors of sexual violence over the age of three. Most would not otherwise be able to afford counseling. Many of our clients are some of the most marginalized and vulnerable in our city. We work closely with the Zebra Child Protection Centre, and receive all of their sexual abuse referrals for counselling. This year we are on track to double the number of clients we serve. As professionals in the area of trauma, our therapists are continuously developing their skills and moving into new modalities for treatment, so that clients always receive the optimal support and can express their trauma in the way that makes the most sense for them.

What is Expressive Therapy?

The healing process after trauma from sexual violence is something that doesn’t happen all at once: it takes time, and it takes continued support. And sometimes we just don’t have the words to express how we feel. While much can be addressed through talking therapies, gaining access to traumatic experiences through expressive and sensory, body-based forms of therapy as well gives survivors one more tool to be able to heal. Research has shown incredible connections between trauma, stress and physiology: trauma is stored in the body.

The expressive therapies include art, music, dance/movement, drama, poetry/creative writing, play, and sand tray therapy. These research and evidence-based therapies are non-verbal and sensory-based, which is helpful because trauma frequently disconnects us from the body, and because talk therapy has an end point. These therapies allow people to experience themselves and communicate on multiple levels—visual, tactile, kinesthetic and more. Expressive therapies can help people achieve feelings of comfort and security, and decrease the fear of body sensations. For people who may not be able to articulate thoughts, sensations, emotions or perceptions, it is one way to convey what may be difficult to express with words.

Sand Tray Therapy

Sand tray therapy allows a person to construct their own microcosm using miniature toys and sand. The scene that’s created acts as a reflection of the person’s own life and gives them the opportunity to resolve conflicts, remove obstacles, and gain self-acceptance.

Although sand tray therapy may look like child’s play, it is a highly therapeutic and multidimensional form of therapy that can provide emotional release and realization for a person in therapy. Adults who have been traumatized and show limited response to other forms of therapy may respond well to sand tray therapy. The environment presents an atmosphere free from threats, and the therapist works with the client to alter the positions of the miniature objects as representations of true people and events. By facilitating change in play, a person can gain the ability to recognize that these same changes can be made in their own life.

Art Therapy

Art therapy creates a safe space for healing that allows this process to take place, and encourages the client to then work through what the creative piece brings to the surface in a supportive, directed environment. The focus is on the process of creating, rather than the end result. Often it can be hard to verbally express feelings like shame or overwhelming fear. This means that sometimes the only way to move these emotions is through creative means. Non-verbal expression can also be important for processing traumas that occurred as a young child before learning to speak. This approach helps clients to find personal meaning and direction, reduce stress and anxiety, cope with pain, enhance cognitive abilities, develop resilience, self-awareness, self-esteem and confidence, and acts as a transition after counselling therapy.

We Need Your Support

Currently, SACE has just one playroom for use by our 4 play therapists and 2 expressive arts therapists. The demand for these therapies exceeds the capacity. As well, the space is set up for young children, with murals on the walls and toys and play stations set up throughout. This is highly effective for kids 10 and under, but means that the space is too juvenile to be an appropriate therapeutic space for older children, youth and adults who could also benefit from these therapies.

To address this, SACE needs a space for more creative therapies, and specifically a space that is appropriate for youth ages 12-17 and for adults. Giving clients a space where they can reclaim their creativity and ability to play can be incredibly therapeutic, and can even help those that are “stuck” in their therapy to move forward.

SACE has already begun fundraising efforts for this cause, at the We Believe: The Art of Healing gala, and through the generous donation of Chicks With Cheques and 100 Men YEG. With your support, we can do it.


June 6, 2017

We Believe: A benefit for SACE 2017

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:27 pm by sacetalks

Sponsor thank-youThis year’s We Believe benefit was even bigger and better, with almost 500 guests in attendance at the Shaw Conference Centre. Pictures are available here care of Girl Named Shirl Photography.

Once again, thank you to Parlee McLaws, Servus Credit Union, Kevin and Jenny Boyd, VKO LLP, Lloyd Sadd Insurance Brokers, Belfor Property Restoration, Ron Eliasson, Newwest Travel, Westjet, the Luxus Group, and CTV Edmonton for your support of SACE. We could absolutely not have pulled off this event without your support!

May 15, 2017

New Alberta-wide plan aims to tackle sexual violence

Posted in Current Events, Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:09 pm by sacetalks

Please read this important article, highlighting a new Alberta action plan to improve services for people who experience sexual assault. “The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton is on track to seeing its client numbers nearly double this year due to a shift in awareness and understanding” says SACE Executive Director Mary Jane James.

The full interview is available on CBC Edmonton at the 4.00 minute mark.

April 12, 2017

We want to hear from you!

Posted in SACE Announcements tagged at 5:57 pm by sacetalks

We would love to hear from you! The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton is currently undertaking a research project to help us improve. We will be working with an external marketing and communication firm to build our profile in the community.

Before that begins, we have engaged an independent research company to speak with stakeholders in confidential, one-on-one telephone interviews. Participants will be asked to comment on their perceptions of SACE, how SACE presents themselves and what challenges SACE currently faces in terms of misunderstandings in the community.

We are looking for people who have experience with SACE to participate in a 30 to 40 minute telephone interview. We want to assure you that your participation is completely voluntary and that the results of interviews will be reported in aggregate. Nothing you share with Johnston Research will be attributed back to you, nor will you be asked to share information on your personal experiences. If you are interested in participating in this research project, you can call Sandra Johnston, owner of Johnston Research, at 780-637-2878. She will be conducting interviews for the remainder of this week and over the long weekend. Interviews can be scheduled for morning, afternoon or evening. If you have any questions about this research project, you can call Sara Cameron, Director of Communications, at 780.423.4102.

March 20, 2017

We Believe: The art of healing

Posted in Community Events, SACE Events, We Believe, We can all do something at 4:39 pm by sacetalks

On Thursday, May 25th, SACE will be hosting its annual fundraising and awareness gala at the Shaw Conference Centre.  The evening will include musical entertainment, plated dinner, special guests, as well as silent and live auctions.  The theme of this year’s event is “The Art of Healing”.  Art therapy is one of the many therapeutic trauma modalities utilized by the 14 trauma therapists at SACE.

This year, we are proud to announce that Jillian Marino, a survivor of a horrific act of sexual violence, will be our guest speaker.  Jillian, now the Principal at JD Bracco Junior High School, has shared her story as a keynote speaker with Victim’s Services volunteers, Conferences for Crown Prosecutors, Violence against Women Events, and for the Edmonton Police Service over the years. Her very impactful end empowering presentation will be one of hope, strength, and victory in the healing journey after trauma.

As difficult as it is to understand, statistics consistently indicate that, in Canada, 1 in 3 women and at least 1 in 6 men will experience sexual violence before the age of 18. Since 1975, SACE has been providing professional, essential services and support to survivors ages 3 and up of all genders.  These services include individual and group counselling, extensive, age and audience-specific public education programs, diversity outreach and support to marginalized communities, court support, as well as a 24-Hour Sexual Assault Crisis Line.  We are the only agency in the City of Edmonton to provide this range of services to the community at no fee.  All proceeds from the We Believe Benefit will be directed towards services and support for our clients and our community.

With statistics as high as they are, and whether we realize it or not, we all know someone who has been affected by this crime.    Please help us support the many survivors in our community on their healing journey by making a contribution to our event through sponsorship, donating to our silent auction, and most importantly through your attendance!

Listen. Believe. Support.  We can all do something.  Please know that your “something” will make a difference.

For ticket information: www.we-believe-benefit@eventbrite.ca

March 16, 2017

How do you Picture Love? SACE wants to know

Posted in SACE Announcements, SACE Events, Uncategorized, We can all do something tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 9:37 pm by sacetalks

Picture Love art and photography contest


How do you visualize love and healing? Is it a serene morning landscape? An abstract painting that lets the mind wander to a safe space? Or maybe an energizing spray of flowers in the colours of a sunset?


The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) believes in that vision. We believe in our community. We believe that people can heal. Most of all, we believe in a world free of sexualized violence. To celebrate this vision and our upcoming gala, We Believe: The Art of Healing, we would like to invite you to enter our Picture Love art contest. From March 20, 2017 to May 15, 2017, SACE will be accepting images of family friendly art and photography.


Winners will be picked by random draw and announced through our social media platforms. They will also have the option of having their art sold at the silent auction at the upcoming gala.


Prizes for the top three positions are as follows:

1st Place: 2 tickets to the We Believe benefit gala and a $100 gift card to an art store

2nd Place: $100 gift card to an art store

3rd Place: $50 gift card to an art store


Rules and Requirements:

  1. The Picture Love Art Contest is an all ages art and photography contest.
  2. Artists must be from Edmonton or the Greater Edmonton area.
  3. Submitted work must be family friendly and adhere to the themes of the Picture Love art contest (love, healing and community).
  4. The work must be original. You must be the creator of the artwork and the submitted image file you or your approved representative sends to our contest. SACE is not responsible for any infringement on copyrighted materials for submitted work.
  5. Artists retain all copyright to their work.
  6. By entering into this contest, you are granting SACE a non-exclusive perpetual license to reproduce images of your artwork on the SACE website, social media accounts, and in promotion of future campaigns. Work used by SACE will include credits to the artist.
  7. Entrants have until 12 a.m. on May 15, 2017 to submit their artwork.


The Entry Process

  1. Your images must be submitted as JPEG files at a minimum resolution of 300 DPI.
  2. Email your entry, along with full name and contact information to shannonn@sace.ab.ca

The Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton retains the right to refuse any submission that is deemed offensive, dangerous or otherwise inappropriate.




March 10, 2017

Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) Response to N.S. Judge Ruling on Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:16 am by sacetalks

In response to the news coming out of Nova Scotia last week, where a judge acquitted a Halifax taxi driver of sexually assaulting a woman in his cab when she was extremely intoxicated, the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) would like to emphasize our stance that the consent laws in Canada need to be well understood and applied in consistent and just ways.

It is crucial that the correct person be held accountable in instances of sexual assault. It is not the responsibility of women, or indeed anyone, to protect themselves from the violence someone chooses to inflict upon them. If someone is drinking and showing observable signs of intoxication, they are not able to give consent, and any individual pursuing sexual contact with another person has a legal responsibility to stop when that person shows signs of intoxication. Drug or alcohol facilitated sexual assault often occurs when someone chooses to engage in sexual contact with a person who is too intoxicated to consent (for example, passed out, vomiting, impaired speech).

In reading about this incident, it is clear that both the taxi driver and the judge should have been able to identify that the complainant was too intoxicated to consent. Consent should be mutual, enthusiastic, voluntary, and can be revoked at any point. Consent is not intoxicated, urine-soaked, memory impaired, or unconscious.

Additionally, taxi drivers, police officers, and judges are all in positions of power, trust, and authority. These individuals, and the positions they hold, are intended to serve a function in the community by providing safety for vulnerable people, be it law enforcement, criminal justice, or transportation. People holding these positions need to be held accountable in their role to ensure individual and public safety, and they should never be allowed to abuse their power in order to obtain consent or to force someone to engage in sexual activity.

We are deeply impacted by the story of the young woman, who has been mistreated and failed by the legal system. It takes a great amount of courage to report a sexual assault and navigate the legal system. As an agency, we advocate for the consistent and just application of the affirmative consent laws outlined in the Criminal Code of Canada. These laws provide the foundation for creating safety and honouring the experiences of people who experience sexual abuse. We respect that many people who experience sexual violence choose not to report or pursue charges. We encourage all people who have experienced sexual violence to decide for themselves if the legal process is something they wish to undergo. When someone chooses to engage with the legal system, we are grateful for the contribution that it makes to the public conversation around how we as a country respond to the crime of sexual assault. If you or someone you care about has experienced sexual assault or abuse and would like help, sexual assault services in Alberta are here for you.

For sexual assault services in Edmonton, contact the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton (SACE) at 780-423-4102, or visit http://www.sace.ab.ca. To locate services in other parts of Alberta visit http://aasas.ca/get-help/. For information on how you can support survivors of sexual assault and sexual abuse, visit http://www.ibelieveyou.info.

August 16, 2016

Supporters’ Night

Posted in Support, Uncategorized tagged , , at 4:39 pm by sacetalks

Supporter Session Sept 2016 Paint

SACE information group for people supporting survivors of sexual abuse/assault, September 2016

July 29, 2016

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:01 am by sacetalks

For the past 41 years the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton has been committed to providing the best support possible to those impacted by sexualized violence in our community. Our organization offers specialized and essential sexual assault and child sexual abuse services aimed at both preventing this crime and facilitating the healing and recovery of those who have been victimized. At SACE, professional trauma counselling is available to survivors of all genders over the age of three. We work to keep our wait times to a minimum, and we provide information, resources, and crisis support to those waiting for full counselling services. Our public education team provides workshops and information sessions on sexualized violence for thousands of youth, adults, and professionals each year. We offer a 24-hour sexual assault support and information line, and provide police and court support and court accompaniment to those navigating the legal system. These services are only possible because of the past and present efforts of our dedicated staff and volunteers.

In addition to providing services for those directly impacted by sexualized violence our team works tirelessly to create a community in which survivors are listened to, believed, and supported without judgment. Creating environments free of sexualized violence requires collaboration and the efforts of many, and our organization is encouraged and energized knowing that there are countless dedicated community members working to make our city a more supportive place for those impacted by this crime. We are immeasurably grateful for all efforts that seek to further this cause.

We believe healing is possible, and we strive to support every individual who is in need of our services. We are always open to feedback, and we are dedicated to growing as an organization and ensuring quality of care for those accessing our services.

If you have questions, feedback, or require more information about our services, you can:

  • Call our office at 780.423.4102
  • Call our 24-Hour Support and Information Line at 780.423.4121
  • Email us at info@sace.ab.ca
  • Send us a private message through Facebook
  • Visit our website at https://www.sace.ab.ca/ (There is a Leave Page button at the top if you ever need to switch to a safe site quickly!)
  • Contact us for a tour of our Centre

February 8, 2016

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:56 pm by sacetalks

Feb Group

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