Support Services

The AWRC offers women and adolescent girls a range of services and programs. Women may come to the women’s center for information and support when and as often as they determine necessary.

In this way women are able to get information and support on an ongoing, as needed basis and to work through problems as they arise rather than letting them escalate. Women’s autonomy, confidentiality and privacy are respected.

Primary Sub Sections

  • Individual Services for Women and Adolescent Girls
  • Youth Support
  • Sexual Assault Services
  • Health Services

Services for Women / Adolescent Girls

  • information
  • crisis intervention
  • short-term and ongoing support that includes problem-solving and emotional support
  • advocacy
  • accompaniment
  • referrals
  • skill development and volunteer opportunities
  • alternative measures and student placement opportunities


Information and Support

The Women’s Centre can provide women and adolescent girls with the information and support they need to make positive changes in their lives. Women want to live full, healthy lives and to develop both the internal resources and the external support they need to do so. This may mean working through poverty related concerns, removing themselves from an unhealthy relationship, healing from childhood traumas such as sexual or physical abuse, freeing themselves from addictions, building self-awareness and a sense of power over their lives, finding adequate employment, enrolling in academic upgrading and re-training programs, and developing positive parenting skills.

The Women’s Centre supports women as they work on any and all of these issues, develops programs that meet the specific needs of women, and connects women with other resources that may be helpful in any given area. Women’s Centre staff can help link services a woman is using and act as her advocate with other agencies.

Advocacy and Accompaniment

At the request of women and adolescent girls who come to the women’s center, Women’s Support Workers advocate for and accompany women to legal, medical and social service appointments, as well as to court and the hospital. This is particularly useful when a woman is in a state of anxiety or trauma or feels unable to speak for herself. As advocates, Women’s Support Workers are able to help women find answers to their questions and negotiate systems that can be complex, confusing and intimidating. When providing accompaniment Women’s Support Workers are able to take notes, ask supportive questions or for clarifications, and help sort out areas of confusion with women afterwards. This is beneficial to providing support, building competency and a sense of independence for the women concerned as well as in making the most effective use of the time of the lawyers, social workers, crown, physicians and others involved.


The AWRC has an excellent working relationship with and is committed to working with other social service agencies to facilitate more effective responses to women and their children. Referrals between agencies can ensure women receive the help they need. The Women’s Centre receives referrals from social service agencies, health care providers and community organizations and makes referrals for women to other services.

Outreach Services

Justice Matters for Women: Rural Outreach in Guysborough and Antigonish Counties

The Rural Outreach Program for Women brings Women’s Centre information, support and advocacy services and programs to women living in and around Canso, Sherbrooke and Guysborough. It is specifically designed to enable women and adolescent girls who have limited access to law-related services, who require information about their legal rights and about the law, and who live in rural and isolated areas of Antigonish and Guysborough Counties to access information, problem-solving support and advocacy. It provides women and adolescent girls with information about a broad range of issues – sexual assault, separation and divorce, custody and access, harassment, tenancy rights, and others. As well, it provides information resources to community agencies, schools and organizations in each community in order to help them better address the needs of the women and adolescent girls with whom they work. Click Here…


Rural Youth Healthy Relationships Education Project (2002-2006)

The Rural Youth Healthy Relationships Education Project was developed to reduce the risk of youth either participating in or being victimized by violence. Through a series of interactive, multi-dimensional, classroom sessions youth learn about issues relating to violence and about ways in which factors such as gender, class, race, ability/disability, and sexual orientation increase a person’s vulnerability to violence. All students learn communication, assertiveness and problem solving skills.

The sessions are co-facilitated by a team of youth and adult facilitators. In each school a group of youth are selected as peer facilitators and they participate in an intensive training program to prepare them for their role in the classroom. Along with taking an active role in the classroom sessions, the youth facilitators take their skills and knowledge into their peer groups and after-school lives. Click Here…

Healthy Relationships for Youth (2006-2009)

Three years of funding from the Canadians Women’s Foundation will support the ongoing work of violence prevention in schools. The project started September 1, 2006. Click Here…


Inspire is a program for adolescent girls designed to provide them with a safe, non-judgmental, and girl-friendly venue for developing life skills. The program aims to provide a safe supportive environment for adolescent girls to access information and resources pertaining to their needs. We seek to provide positive mentoring and role modeling, that encourages self-care, healthy decision making and the development of critical-thinking and problem solving skills. The group setting fosters the development of effective communication and social skills and promotes a sense of self and an awareness of rights and responsibilities to the community. The Inspire Program is generally co-facilitated with a Public Health Nurse from each community.

The Inspire Program is designed to reflect the learning needs of the girls participating in it. The girls determine the topics they would like to focus on. Generally, they include self-esteem, body image, media awareness, stress management, communication, healthy lifestyles, etc. Other topics are presented by community professionals, including staff of Addiction Services, Mental Health Services and the Naomi Society. Having community agencies in to speak ensures that the girls receive accurate information from experienced staff, familiarizes them with the services available to them in their community, and model career choices available to them.


Antigonish Sexual Assault Response Team

The Antigonish Sexual Assault Response Team (ASART) provides a coordinated response to survivors of sexual assault who are 16 years of age and over and who choose to report the assault and to proceed through the criminal justice system. ASART involves the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre and Sexual Assault Services Association, Antigonish Crown Attorney’s Office, Nova Scotia Department of Justice Provincial Victim Services Program, RCMP – Antigonish Detachment, St. Francis Xavier University Health and Counseling Centre, and St. Martha’s Regional Hospital Emergency Department. Under the ASART protocol there are defined roles and responsibilities for all service providers, and the protocol delineates the approach and agreed upon principles of responding to survivors of sexual assault. This results in a consistent, comprehensive and knowledgeable response from the abovementioned services within our community.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program

The AWRC SANE program provides emergency response, 24 hours a day/seven days a week, to female and male victims of sexual assault 13 years of age and older. Through this program, on-call SANE nurses provide immediate care and conduct forensic examinations of victims of sexual violence. Forensic evidence can be stored for up to six months to give the victim time to decide whether she/he wants to report the assault to police. The SANE Nurses can provide victims with appropriate medical attention at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital, Strait Richmond Hospital, Aberdeen Hospital, Lindsay’s Health Centre for Women and the StFX Health Centre. The SANE program also provides expert testimony in a court of law and supportive follow-up for victims.

Support Groups For Survivors of Sexual Trauma

The Women’s Centre offers Stage I and Stage II Groups for Adult Survivors of Sexual Trauma. The Groups are facilitated by a therapist who has training and experience specific to working with survivors of trauma and of sexual violence. The groups work from a feminist perspective and are offered when a minimum of 8 women have expressed interest.

Stage I

This is a facilitated 8-session program that runs once a week for 2.5 hours. It is an educational group for women who are beginning their healing process and want to build a foundation for this work by developing practical coping skills in the areas of managing flashbacks, setting healthy boundaries, building a support system, nurturing self-care and developing self-compassion.

Stage II

This is a 10-session therapy program that runs once a week for 2.5 hours. This is a therapeutic group for women who are at a place in their lives where they are ready to being healing from the effects of their sexual abuse or assault in a group setting. Women will have completed the Stage I group prior to starting this program. Topics include trauma effects and the healing process, emotional numbing, exploring self-blame, body image, relationship effects, creating pathways for anger and grief, and reclaiming self-worth.

Health Services

Lindsay’s Health Centre for Women

Every Thursday Lindsay’s Health Centre for Women provides women and adolescent girls with services and programs that can help them make informed decisions about their health. Services are provided by a multi-disciplinary team which includes Mental Health Services, Addictions Services, Public Health Services, the Women’s Centre, a physician and a nurse practitioner.

Along with the medical care provided by the physician and nurse practitioner, Lindsay’s Health Centre offers a series of programs that are designed to enhance the understanding, self-care, self-help and self-advocacy abilities of each woman that participates in them.


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