Hi Reddit, I'm here to answer some questions about what goes on at a sexual assault centre. Saffron offers counselling services to those who have been affected by sexual violence, police and court support services for those who want to report, and public education on a variety of topics.

We service the area of Edmonton, AB, as well as nearby rural areas. Please be aware that my answers reflect the jurisdiction I'm in, I can only speak to the laws and procedures of the legal institutions I work with.

I am happy to refer to local resources that can answer more specific jurisdictional questions you may have.

Saffron's Website: https://www.saffroncentre.com/

Proof: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIEH8t1AvHh/

Thanks for all of the great questions everyone! I had a really good time answering them, and it's really nice to see so many people interested in the subject matter.

A special thanks as well to those who disclosed personal experiences with sexual violence in their questions. It takes a lot of courage to be open about it, so thank you for your bravery.

I am leaving a list of resource in several countries for help finding local supports. These links should help you find organizations like Saffron in your area. If you have any more questions or need support please get in touch with them, they can help you.

Thanks again!


Canada: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/sexual-abuse-other-places-to-get-help.aspx (Has resources for some other provinces) https://casac.ca/anti-violence-centres/

United States: https://www.rainn.org/national-resources-sexual-assault-survivors-and-their-loved-ones https://www.nsvrc.org/organizations?field_organizations_target_id=All&field_states_territories_target_id=All

Australia: https://au.reachout.com/articles/sexual-assault-support https://www.rape-dvservices.org.au/something-happened/somethings-happening-in-my-relationship-or-family/find-a-local-support-service

United Kingdom: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/abuse/sexual-abuse/ https://uksaysnomore.org/safespaces/ https://www.thesurvivorstrust.org/sarc

Comments: 127 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

The_Local_Rapier37 karma

Is it common for men to use these services? Here in the UK only men can legally rape someone so i am always curious as to how other countries handle these things and how men themselves handle such things due to stigma etc

SaffronCentreLtd31 karma

Really good question, the truth is that it isn't common for men to use these services. Only about 5% of our clients identify as men, which is down in recent years from about 13%.

There is a myth that men don't or can't get sexually assaulted. It's true that men perpetrated about 95% of sexual assaults in Canada, but they also account for roughly 15% of those who are assaulted here.

There is still a huge stigma for men who may want to come forward because of those myths, and because of traditionally masculine ideas that say men can't talk about this kind of thing, or that it makes them weak, or not men.

It's important to understand that your gender identity shouldn't matter when it comes to reporting. Everyone deserves help and support. If someone feels ready to come forward and talk about what happened to them, their bravery should be acknowledged regardless of who they are. It's an incredibly difficult thing to do.

The_Local_Rapier4 karma

Thanks for taking the time to reply, couldn't have asked for a better answer and keep up the great work dude

SaffronCentreLtd2 karma

Thanks for asking the question!

Malcolmpargin28 karma

What do you think the government should do to prevent sexual violence?

SaffronCentreLtd60 karma

Hi! Thanks for your question. There are a lot of things that governments can do to support the prevention and ending of sexual violence.

One of the biggest things is public education, normalizing the teaching of things like boundaries, healthy relationships, and consent go a long way towards prevention. Especially when we can teach it to young people. Often perpetrating behaviours can start when people are really young, and in a lot of cases they don't get any course correction. Governments should encourage and take an active role in implementing sexual health education, because teaching people these skills can help a lot.

Another key part of what governments can do is making changes in the justice system. The reality is that perpetrators often commit and act of sexual violence more than once, and if these repeat offenders aren't stopped it can lead to further offending. Looking into ways to stop repeat offenders from slipping through the system would be another good step for governments to take.

AstroBardHealTank20 karma

Hi, I have a friend who is currently in a work environment where the perpetrator is being protected by the workers at this work place. What do you suggest she do in this situation? Also this seems to be the case in tight nit families too, where the one that's being abused speaks out and is immediately shunned if she/he says anything...

SaffronCentreLtd16 karma

Hi there, really good question.

This is actually really common, we see things like this a lot. There are a lot of systems that, when a member of that system is accused of something, they close down and move to protecting the perpetrator instead of acknowledging the survivor.

Without knowing more details about the situation, I can't offer very specific advice, but I can tell you some general guidelines. If you would like to ask me more, feel free to DM me.

First and foremost, it's important to understand that whatever course of action has to be their choice. Whatever they want to do is what they should do, and no one should pressure them to report if they don't want to.

That being said, safety is also really important to consider, if safety is jeopardized in any way it would be important to find ways to mitigate that. If someone can safely get away from a system that puts them in danger, that might be a course of action. Safety planning is also something to consider, local support services or women's shelters may be able to help with that. And of course a call to 911 in an emergency.

If general safety is not in jeopardy however, they can always try reporting within the workplace, if there is an avenue to appeal to a superior, or their superior, etc. That could be explored. Same with reporting to police, if they feel that is something they could do, that is also an option.

barefoot-snowglobes18 karma

I have friends who in the passed were sexually assaulted but didn't want to go the the police or get their abuser "in trouble." What do you recommend I do as their friend in this situation, or what do you recommend they do?

SaffronCentreLtd15 karma

Hi there, good question.

I have to echo what the previous comment said, it is best to support whatever action the survivor wants to undertake. The only time we would ever force someone to report is if they were under the age of 18, and the only reason we do that is because the law in Alberta demand that we have to.

Otherwise, it has to be up to the person. We don't want to re-traumatize anybody, and we don't want to put them up to something they just aren't, or may never be, ready for.

The best thing you can do as a friend is acknowledge what has happened to them, express that you are sorry, and offer to support them in any way they need. Sometimes people just need to say it out loud to someone and feel believed, sometimes they need to go to counselling, and sometimes they want to report and watch the perpetrator get sentenced. It always depends on the person.

It's important to understand too that reporting is always an option, they never have to, but they can years after if they want. Most of our clients have reported historical incidents at least 2 years in the past, some a lot longer than that. Don't ever push them, but if years from now they decide they want to report or feel that they should have, you can let them now that they still can, and you can offer to go with them as support.

CrouchingAshtray6 karma

What a tough situation. On one hand you just want to help and be supportive but the other hand while they wait 2+ years to report it who knows how many other victims there is.

SaffronCentreLtd5 karma

It definitely can be a tough situation. It's important to remember that our job is to support them in what they want.

But I wanted to reply to this because what you pointed out about other victims is often a reason why our clients do make reports to police. They perform a very selfless act of bravery in an effort to stop anyone else from getting hurt.

barefoot-snowglobes2 karma

Thank you for your answer.

SaffronCentreLtd4 karma

Thanks you for the question!

glassflowrrrs15 karma

Considering the job that you and your coworkers do, how does your professional work environment take care of you the employees?

Also, thank you for doing the job that you do. I have never reached out to a center like yours but I appreciate all that you do for those that do.

SaffronCentreLtd19 karma

I love this question!

Thanks for thinking of us!

What we do can be really difficult, we are often at risk of what is called vicarious trauma, where we can experience traumatic symptoms because of what we hear about on a daily basis.

The organization does it's best to take care of us. We have a very flexible work space and schedule so that we have time to take care of ourselves, and it's very clear that self care is a priority.

We also have an open door policy, that if we need to talk anyone can walk into an office (pre-pandemic) and sit down and have a conversation. It also helps a lot that we get a long, and we are all supporting each other in achieving our common goals.

We also make a point of having self care days every once in awhile when we do something mindful as a team.

We can't do the work we do if we are burned out, so we always try to do our best to stay healthy.

TouhouPony12 karma

Hi Ryan, my question is, do you (as a man) give direct counseling to women survivors of sexual assault? Are men allowed to give counseling/work directly with woman survivors?


SaffronCentreLtd23 karma

Hi there, this is a great question.

I am not actually a counsellor at Saffron, I work in public edication delivering presentations, and in police and court support helping clients in the legal area (though to be clear, I am not a lawyer).

We do have one male counsellor though. It is a question that we ask in our intake, because some clients are not comfortable with a man, and we want to make sure we serve their interests first.

That being said, for a lot of clients it isn't an issue, I have police and court clients that I talk to on the phone every week, and it isn't an issue for them. I've also had clients tell me it will be good exposure therapy for them to be around me at Saffron (if we weren't in a pandemic).

The fact is that the gender of whoever is offering support is often secondary to the support being given. Our male counsellor is fantastic and he gets really good feedback from his clients. Yes most of the time survivors of sexual assault are women, but that doesn't always mean they are afraid of men, a lot of my clients bring their boyfriends or husbands with them to court as support people.

It's also very important for men to be a part of the supporting process, because as men we have a lot of power to end sexual violence. Most men don't commit these acts, but these acts are disproportionately committed by men. It's important for us to stand up and take responsibility for that and do our part to show that we can do good, and that men speaking out against sexual violence goes along way towards ending it.

Shredded-egg12 karma

Do you think male victims of sexual assault will soon be able to speak out without it being a stigma?

SaffronCentreLtd6 karma

This is a good question. I read the comments below, and I want to say I'm sorry about what happened to you. The other commentor is right, you didn't deserve it, and it wasn't your fault.

I will address first, that sexual assault in general is still heavily stigmatized, and still has a lot of myths around it. That being said there is an increased stigma for men a lot of the time because of traditional gender stereotypes around masculinity.

I think we are starting to see shifts in this dynamic, toxic masculinity has been a really popular topic the last few years, I prefer to talk about it from a different perspective and talk about what healthy masculinity is. Engaging men and boys in general is a huge subject of a lot of research right now as well.

It is going to take a lot of work, it's not going to be easy, but reducing stigma for everyone is really important. In another answer I talked about how men need to stand up for what is right and encourage a world where other men can come forward and not fear consequences.

We are starting to get there, but this kind of change moves slowly. I am optimistic though, and centres like Saffron offer services regardless of gender, so the mechanisms exist, we just need to encourage them.

If you feel ready to report or talk about it I would encourage you to do that. Go at your pace though, that is more important. There are lots of resources out there if you look, counselling, support groups, etc and I'm sure you can find some specific to men if you look in your area.

ViolentVenus11 karma

as a sexual assault survivor i haven’t found any good therapy’s what help with the ptsd, what treatments is there to offer to help heal from the situation?

SaffronCentreLtd8 karma

Hi there, first I want to say that I'm sorry about what's happened to you, and that you've had trouble finding good therapies.

I am not a therapist, but therapy is different for each individual. At Saffron we always try and match clients to the therapist that best suits them and their needs. A lot of what was said in the comments holds up.

There are therapists that are specifically trained in trauma therapy, and depending on where you are located there are services that you can connect with to get what you need.

I know a lot of our therapists are trained in EMDR therapy so that may be something to look into for you if you haven't tried it already.

When I closed the AMA at the end of the day I'll be posting a list of links to websites to help find local services. If you find services in your area they should be able to help you find a therapy that suits you best.

SaffronCentreLtd2 karma

I just wanted to add this follow up that I received from our director of counselling at Saffron.

Therapies to address sexual assault can be offered individually, in groups or in family therapy. Saffron focuses on Individual and some group therapy. Specific approaches that have a lot of research supporting their use with survivors of sexual assault specifically or PTSD in general include EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (TF-CBT), Somatic Experiencing (SE), Dialectic Behaviour Therapy (DBT), and Prolonged Exposure (PE). Other approaches that Saffron therapists use in their work with clients include Play Therapy, Art therapy approaches, attachment-based approaches, ego state therapies (like Internal Family Systems Therapy), Accelerated Resolution Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, clinical hypnotherapy, and other body-based approaches such as mindfulness. However, the most important factor in successful therapy is a good match with your therapist. At Saffron, our focus is on developing a strong therapeutic relationship with our client, which may involve trying a few different approaches until we find the best fit or combination. Sometimes people need to see two or three different therapists in order to find the best fit.

TooNewb10 karma

Why is the victimization on males overlooked?

When do male victims come forward as the victims of domestic violence?

SaffronCentreLtd9 karma

Thanks for your question.

A lot of the time victimization of males is overlooked because of myths around sexual violence. A lot of these myths come from traditional masculine gender roles, it also stems from our idea that sexual assault takes place in a dark alley by a stranger, and it also has to do with the fact that men disproportionately commit sexual assault (95% of assaults in Canada committed by a man) and that because of this only women are survivors. There is a strong belief that men don't or can't get sexual assaulted, which is flatly false.

Anyone can be sexually assaulted, and in Canada men account for about 15% of sexual assault survivors. The myths really get engrained though, and so we only focus on the more obvious cases that fit with the myths.

Again, because of all the myths, often men don't come forward as victims of domestic violence. Maybe because they feel embarrassed, or emasculated, or that they won't be believed, or many other reasons.

Anyone that has experienced this kind of violence though should come forward only when they feel ready and safe to do so. it helps to create environments where talking about problems is normal and safe, where people are encouraged and empowered and believed.

TooNewb2 karma

Amazing what stereotypes can do to our mindset.

Thank you for taking the time to answer my question and thank you for doing the work that you do! Happy holidays

SaffronCentreLtd2 karma

Thanks for asking!

maewtt9 karma

Many rapists get away with their crimes because it can be hard to prove that they're guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is particularly true if the crine is reported several years after the fact. What are your thoughts on this?

What can be done to make sure people are held responsible for their crimes while also preventing innocent people fron going to jail on false accusations?

SaffronCentreLtd8 karma

You are correct, the "beyond a reasonable doubt" part is where it really gets difficult.

The fact is that the legal system is set up for people who are accused and not for survivors. In my work it can be really frustrating to watch this happen in a lot of cases.

To fix the problem you are describing, it will take a lot of broad change to be honest. Starting with prevention in public education, teaching young people about boundaries, healthy relationships, and consent.

It's also important to think about how the legal system can be adjusted to better serve survivors, who are called witnesses in court. Making it easier for them to testify, clarifying what evidence can and can't be used, consulting with experts about what evidence holds up and what doesn't. For example, trauma can significantly impair someone's memory, which means they may not remember the event, but may remember what they smelled or heard. This impairment is a significant indicator of trauma, but if the witness can't remember what happened, it doesn't prove that something happened.

It will take a lot of work by legal experts who know a lot more than I do, but it starts with building a culture of believing the survivor.

Apatheal8 karma

Hi! I first want to say fantastic work.

Secondly: I'm curious to what extent and how COVID-19 has impacted your ability to provide services? And how you've sought to mitigate that?

SaffronCentreLtd7 karma


Covid-19 has definitely had an impact on us. From a counselling perspective, it has been okay, for awhile we only saw one client at a time in person for counselling, but as Alberta just put new restrictions in place we have shut down all in person services. We have been able to replace a lot of counselling with telehealth or online options though, so we are still able to offer counselling services.

For police and court support, we've still been able to do a lot of it because a big chunk of it is making phone calls. The part that has been problematic is actually going to court. Making police reports is still doable with safety precautions, but because court is public it has slowed down a lot. Recently we even had one case get adjourned because the crown prosecutor was sick. Courts are still open, but they are hugely reduced in terms of who can attend, so we are at risk of not always being able to be in the court room while our clients testify. We are still allowed in the court room, but it can change a lot.

As for public education, our biggest audience is classrooms in schools, and since school started up again in September in Alberta, we have pretty much exclusively been doing virtual presentations through Zoom or other services. We've found a way to make it work, and we are still adapting, but it's actually worked out pretty well. It has to an extent even allowed us to expand a bit because we can reach places a lot further away than we would be able to go if we were presenting in person.

It has definitely affected us, we are all working from home now, but we are doing our best to make sure we can still offer all of our services, and we aren't slowing down.

aGiantmutantcrab8 karma

Hello, OP.

I have two questions;

1- I've heard and read that the number of sexual assaults that are reported to police are a fraction of the actual number of sexual assaults that happen. And of that number of actually reported assaults, only a fraction of those actually have any kind of legal conclusion (restraining order, jail time for the offender, etc). Why do sexual crimes of this nature are such a minuscule percentage in court?

2- what do you do, more specifically, as far as public education concerning sexual assault?

Thank you.

SaffronCentreLtd10 karma

Thanks for your questions.

Your first question has multiple parts in the answer.

Firstly, yes sexual assault is one of the most under-reported crimes. In Canada in 2014, according to Statistics Canada's General Social Survey, which focused on self-reported sexual assault, only 5% of sexual assaults were reported to the police. One big reason for this is because survivors feel like the police won't believe them when they tell their stories, or they have other fears about retribution from the perpetrator, another being that they don't want to go down the long road of an investigation and the court process. (I do want to note that in some police jurisdictions, information only reports can be made where investigations are not undertaken unless there are circumstances of public safety or if a child is at risk, you can speak with a local victim services or local police unit to find out more).

The second part of this answer has to do with court. The reality of most legal systems is that they are built with the accused in mind, not the survivors. This comes from the principle of the presumption of innocence. And that isn't inherently bad, it protects people in the court system. But this, along with myths about sexual violence like "they wanted it" or "they made it up for attention" make it really difficult to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that someone intended to commit the crime. It comes down to whether or not there is really solid evidence that the crime occurred, and without other witnesses that can be difficult. The myths also play really heavily on how the incident is perceived in court. If it doesn't conform to what we think a sexual assault is, it doesn't get seen as a sexual assault. Most sexual assaults aren't perpetrated by strangers in a dark alley, most of the time it's someone known to the survivor in someone's home. It's also far more complex than it is generally made out to be. So, to sum up, when sexual assault cases go to court they are fighting against a system that is just set up not to believe what happened to them.

And in answer to your second question, at Saffron we have a variety of topics we present on. Our most popular is internet safety, then healthy relationships. We also offer presentations about bullying, consent, sexual assault and harassment, and trauma. We also teach about how to receive a disclosure from someone. Finally, I run a healthy masculinity workshop.

Thanks for your questions, there is a lot more I could say so feel free to follow up, but I hope that gave you a basic understanding.

aGiantmutantcrab5 karma

Thank you for your answers. If possible, I would like to add a follow-up question that, I feel, is rather pertinent to the topic at hand.



Earlier this week, Gilbert Rozon was acquitted of a sexual assault that happened 40 years ago. The victim suggested and was echoed by a few politicians that a separate court for sexual crimes is necessary.

As someone who is professionally involved in the processes concerning sexual assaults, with all of its complexities and nuances, do you think that a seperate, specific court of law dedicated exclusively to crimes of a sexual nature would be beneficial to victims of sexual crimes, or would it be a hindrance?

SaffronCentreLtd7 karma

No worries! That's really difficult to say.

There are a lot of legal questions with this, and I am not a lawyer. I think it might be worth exploring, but like I said there are tricky questions about legal ethics that I am not qualified to answer. Something like that may work in some place, and may not work in others, who's to say.

I think we are talking about two separate things though. A new court system for sexual assault cases may address conviction rates for these cases, I really don't know, that's not my area.

In police and court support we deal with supporting survivors. I think testifying about experiencing a sexual assault would be just as difficult whether it was in regular court or a specialized court. I measure success by a client's satisfaction with the process, not based on conviction, and I've had client's that were totally fine with the police not pressing charges. It was more about telling their story and being believed.

So, like I said, difficult to say, if we are talking about things like testimonial aids (getting a screen to block the view of the accused, or a support dog, or various others) and making them more accessible, then definitely, but we can implement that in our existing court system too.

Really interesting idea though.

ok_boomer50007 karma

Is there a major difference between the number of men using these services vs. the number of woman using them?

SaffronCentreLtd5 karma

Good questions!

Yes there is a big difference, I've talked about it more in some other answers. But, at Saffron only about 5% of our clients are men, which isn't keeping up with the roughly 15% of survivors who are men (in Canada).

implicitlyput5 karma

Thanks for the work you do, I can imagine it’s not a job you can leave (mentally) at the end of the day and you are amazing for doing it.

Question: have you found a difference in cases since the pandemic? Perhaps less date rape type situations with bars and socializing being limited or more cases in the home because of lockdown?

SaffronCentreLtd6 karma

Thanks for asking a question!

We have definitely seen a difference. When Alberta did it's first lockdown before the summer, our case load in police and court doubled.

Either because people had something happen while in lockdown, or because they had time to reflect on a historical incident and decided it was time for them to report.

Since then it has quieted down a bit, but we are expecting it to grow again as we have entered another lockdown in AB. I can't talk about the specific circumstances of any of our clients, but I do know that there has been an overall increase in domestic violence since the beginning of the pandemic.

Andreastheslimjim4 karma

What are things to look for in regards to spotting child sexual abuse? Any particular behavioral changes?

SaffronCentreLtd8 karma

This is a really important question. I want to start by saying that if anyone is aware of a child being abused in any way, in Alberta and, as far as I'm aware, most jurisdictions, it is required by law that that be reported to police.

The reality is that child abuse can take many forms, and in each case certain things will be different so what to look for can change. In general it's important to watch out for things like very sudden and unexplained shifts in behaviour, as well as behaviours that are uncharacteristic could be indicators. Especially when these changes come on quickly and remain consistent.

Looking for physical signs like bruises or scrapes, these could be present. For children, things like regression in skills they have had or should have, advanced knowledge of certain topics (especially sexual ones), outbursts of emotion, trouble concentrating, complaints of stomach pains, etc.

A big indicator would be what we sometimes call "perpetrating" behaviours. Inappropriate touching or gesturing. If they have been abused their understanding of appropriate boundaries may have been blurred.

It's very complicated, but that should help give you a bit of a better idea. If you work with children or have concerns about a child you know, this video talks about how to respond to a disclosure of child abuse.


SadCrayon4 karma

What kind of training should people have in order to work with people affected by sexual violence?

SaffronCentreLtd7 karma

This is a good question.

I myself have a degree in family science, but my supervisor has a degree in political science, and one of my coworkers has a degree in criminology.

For public education and police and court support, any related field like that is useful in the work, but we focus more on if you have a passion for the work.

To be a counsellor in Alberta, to my knowledge, you need to have a masters degree, so that requires much more training.

Otherwise, things like the ASIST training from Livingworks really help. J. Kevin Cameron's Violence Threat Risk Assessment (VTRA) and Traumatic Event Systems (TES) trainings are really useful. Mental health first aid, anything related to those would be great.

The most important thing for working with this group of people is to be trauma informed. This video is a great place to start learning about it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-tcKYx24aA&ab_channel=mediaco-op

Understanding trauma and how it affects people informs how we approach conversations and interactions with out clients.

SadCrayon1 karma

Thank you! This response is very helpful. And thank you for the work you are doing.

SaffronCentreLtd2 karma

Thanks for asking the question!

egus3 karma

how long do people typically last at that job?

I feel like I would burn out pretty quickly.

SaffronCentreLtd2 karma

It varies, we haven't had too much turnover in police and court, but it is a relatively new department.

What we do is fairly similar to what victim services units do, and my impression is that people last for awhile in those jobs.

Self care is a really important part of what we do though, so we try to avoid burnout for sure.

realdemilio3 karma

Why is there a significant difference between male and female teachers in sexual offences within students? Thanks!

SaffronCentreLtd3 karma

I think the previous comment brought up some really good points in answering your question.

When it comes to sexual assault in general the myth is that it is something done by men, to women. There are a lot of gender norms and stereotypes that feed into that, but we know that it isn't true in every case.

It could be that it is seen as an achievement for a male student, and they shouldn't be upset about it. But that is most definitely not the case, abuse is abuse.

In terms of how we treat the perpetrator, again the myths don't allow us to see women as perpetrators all the time, despite that they can be.

There are a lot of reasons for all of these factors, but what should be understood is that regardless of circumstance and background, no one deserves to be assaulted, and everyone deserves support.

SadCrayon2 karma

To what extent are you able to monitor the impacts of your work? Are you able to follow-up with people who only use your services once or twice? How many people stay for long-term counseling, for example?

SaffronCentreLtd4 karma

This is a great question!

For public education, monitoring the impact can be quite difficult sometimes, because we don't go back in and see if they learned the lessons we tried to teach them. We keep track of how many people we speak to, and since September I have presented to around 1000 people, and my coworker has done at least that.

For police and court support it's a bit easier to monitor. To be clear our measure for success in this department is not whether we get a conviction on a file or not, it's whether the client is satisfied with the process. I've had clients that were relieved when charges didn't get laid, they just wanted to be heard and believed. We stay in contact with out clients in this department as long as they need us to. A simple phone check in once a month, or however frequently for them, is enough to see how they are doing and if they need more support from us.

As for counselling, we have often had clients go through our 20 sessions and come back for more counselling. We will follow up as much as we are able, and we connect them to more resources should they need them.

We cut off contact whenever a client wants us to, we prefer not to turn people away and try to make sure they can get what they need.

sephstorm2 karma

Should Prostitution be legalized?

SaffronCentreLtd4 karma

Hi there. So as for whether it should be legal or not, that is not for me to say.

What I want to point out though is that prostitution and other sex work like pornography can involve some really serious issues around exploitation.

Firstly, it can be very difficult to tell what is consensual work and what is not. There is no verification with any work like this, and of course no regulation, and therefore no accountability.

I would also point out that engaging with these forms of sex work can be destructive to someone's perception of what a healthy relationships is. There are links to sexually aggressive behaviours, distortion of intimacy, lack of understanding of consent, among other things.

Not to mention that these industries are frequently linked to human trafficking.

In general these are not positive industries, and certainly aren't healthy for the people in them.

kattannus2 karma

When victims that have been sexually assaulted by their spouses/partners why do you ask for proof? Wouldn't that just put them in even more danger?

SaffronCentreLtd7 karma

This is a good question. So as a sexual assault centre we do not ask our clients to prove that they have been assaulted. During intakes we ask if there situation is related to sexual violence, and don't require any evidence for access to our services.

If you are referring to police and court systems though, evidence is required to move forward with charges and a court case. To be clear, if someone makes a report to police that usually involves the person telling their story in as much detail as they can remember. They don't need to provide evidence themselves, though they can provide any evidence they have.

Then the police go about investigating and evidence gathering, and make a decision with a crown prosecutor about whether or not to lay charges (To be clear, that is the process as I understand it here in Alberta).

In terms of safety, that is always a concern, breaking out of the cycle of abuse can leave people susceptible to harm. Anyone making a report can work with police to safety plan, and advocacy agencies like Saffron can also help with that. Safety is paramount in cases like this.

hobbitfootwaxer2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. My friends sometimes talk about studies showing a trend of transgender women entering into women's shelters and abusing the cis-women there. This just seems like very unlikely to me and some dangerous TERF scaremongering. What has your experience been like with trans women in your shelter? Is there any basis to these allegations?

SaffronCentreLtd3 karma

Thanks for your question. To be clear, Saffron is not a shelter. We don't house anyone, we offer counselling, police and court support and public education.

That being said, I am not aware of any cases where this is true, and to my knowledge we don't have any clients that have experienced this. People who identify as part of the LGBTQ2S+ community are actually more at risk of being the victim of a sexual assault than they are to perpetrate one.

scotty_is_playing2 karma

how prominent is dissociation among adult survivors of abuse experienced in institutions or the military (victimised as adults)?

SaffronCentreLtd1 karma

Hi there, this is a good question.

In general with trauma dissociation is a common symptom. Everyone is different of course, and it depends on several factors.

In the context of institutions and organizations like the military, where it is a fast paced environment (speaking as former military myself) and there can be little time to process some things, that could play a role in how someone processes trauma and what their symptoms are. I am not a trauma therapist, but that is my understanding of the trauma process in the brain.

It's important to recognize trauma symptoms and find support for it. In the Canadian Armed Forces there has been a heavy emphasis on getting serving members the help they need when they've experienced traumatic events. Speaking with a local base clinic, or one of your superiors about finding support should always be considered.

Sparklypuppy051 karma

This probably isn't a question that can be easily answered, but: What happens in a situation where a person sexually abuses/assaults somebody who is in another country, over the internet? I was in a situation a while ago where I was a victim of statutory sexual assault over the internet. I live in the UK, the person who did it lives/lived in America. The police said that all they could do was alert the FBI, and I haven't heard anything about it since then (A year and a few months). I'm just wondering about the most likely result - was the guy arrested and I just wasn't told? Or was the case ignored?

SaffronCentreLtd2 karma

Hi there thanks for the questions. I'm so sorry about what happened to you.

The truth is that I don't have a specific answer for this question. There are at least two different legal systems involved in here, not counting the legal system of whatever state would have had jurisdiction in the U.S. I am not a lawyer so I'm not sure who would have jurisdiction, or if there would need to be extradition or not.

Also given that it happened over the internet, that makes it more complicated for the investigators. I'm also not sure how the FBI would go about notifying you if they did look into it.

Given how complicated the case is, I'm not sure what would have happened to be honest. But it sounds like it would be very difficult to get to court on this. Again, I am not a lawyer so I can't make any guarantees, but it may have been looked into and not gone any further.

I wish I had a better answer for this, but it may be worth following up with the police you filed the report with to see if they learned anything.

Sparklypuppy052 karma

We reported the incident to our local police, and they came back to us after a few months, and essentially said that they don't have enough funding and they'll report it to the FBI. Thank you, really - I appreciate the advice, and I'll look into getting a report. Thank you for your work and what you do for victims. :)

SaffronCentreLtd2 karma

Thanks for asking the question, I hope you can get some more information!

Sparda2049200 karma

Will there be serious consequences for individuals who lie about sexual assault?

SaffronCentreLtd10 karma

The reality is that most people don't lie about sexual assault. The ratio of false statements is roughly the same as it is for any other crime like robbery or assault.

When someone makes a report it's important that it be investigated by police like they would for any other crime.

Stevet1590 karma

Did you volunteer to do this AMA or was it mandated from your employer? Also did you think it would go well? Has that opinion changed?

SaffronCentreLtd4 karma

Doing this AMA was actually my idea, and my employer really enthusiastically agreed that it would be beneficial. We were hoping to reach people who may have questions about how things like counselling, reporting, and court go.

I'm thrilled with the questions we've gotten so far, and I'm looking forward to answering more. I'd say it was worth doing.

astronautvibes-2 karma

With the rise of QAnon in 2020 and the movement's brief focus on human trafficking, did you witness any helpful attention being brought to the situations that you encounter throughout your work?

SaffronCentreLtd2 karma

Thanks for the question.

We haven't had much in the way of attention as it relates to QAnon. However in general the social climate is starting to open up to the topic of human trafficking and what it really looks like. Many people think of human trafficking as a cross-border, undercover physical movement of humans. That can be the case, but often it isn't, and the more we open up and de-stigmatize the conversation, the farther we will get in our understanding of the issue and how to prevent it.

wyskiboat-4 karma

How do you control for fraudulent claims?

Sexual assault is an absolutely horrific crime, and it is probably an understatement to say that it is the most horrific form of "bullying" a person can experience, and it must always be taken seriously. However, while there are far more unreported cases and legitimate reported cases than fraudulent claims, those fraudulent claims can also absolutely ruin people's lives. In a situation where actual evidence can so commonly be lacking in the first place, I'm curious what tools you use to analyze whether a person is being honest with their claims?

(I used to work in fraud detection with financial managers at one point, and for my purposes the propensity and potential for fraud wouldn't necessarily be evident via financial analyses, but other factors.)

SaffronCentreLtd6 karma

The reality is that most people don't lie about sexual assault. The ratio of false statements is roughly the same as it is for any other crime like robbery or assault.

When someone makes a report it's important that it be investigated by police like they would for any other crime.

As a sexual assault centre it is not up to us to investigate fraudulent claims, it is our job to support the client's that come through our doors.