Strait Area Community Response to Sexual Violence Network

The network is an informal organization of service providers in Antigonish, Guysborough, Richmond and Inverness Counties who are interested in improving outcomes for victims and survivors of sexualized violence. The current focus on the network has been to provide professional development and networking opportunities as part of a project funded by a provincial Sexual Violence Support Network grant. The project has created a contact database of 180 individuals from the four counties that is used to communicate network activities and information.

The project activities are guided by a Working Group of agency representatives who worked together to develop the initial proposal. The project outcomes and goals were developed based on the information gathered by roundtable discussions and meetings held in 2015.

Working group members are Heather Blackburn, SANE Program Coordinator, AWRCSASA; Marina Martens, Leeside Society, Linda MacDougall Penner, Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia, Celeste Gotell, Health Equity Promoter, Public Health, Emma Chisholm, NSCC Human Services student and Nancy O’Regan, Project Manager.

The Project Manager’s role  is to assist the local Working Group to enhance collaboration among service providers and plan and organize public events. The project funding is being managed by Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia.

Project Goals

  1. Develop a model for a Community Support Network, outlining how the network will function and the responsibilities of members and partners.
  2. Develop an asset map and gap analysis of capacity and knowledge to address sexualized violence in the region, with a focus on underserviced rural communities.
  3. Develop a communications plan to increase knowledge in communities.
  4. Plan two network gatherings to build the network/community of practice.
  5. Coordinate implementation of a Men’s Group/Service.
  6. Overall planning and oversight for two professional development opportunities.

Project Update

  1. The Seeking Safety training held in October brought together 92 individuals who were interested in learning more about this program’s approach to providing support groups for a variety of purposes.

    Seeking Safety Training participants from left are: NSCC students Karina Doucette, Allison MacAskill, Emma Chisholm and Larissa Verhoeven from Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia .

    Seeking Safety Training participants from left are: NSCC students Karina Doucette, Allison MacAskill, Emma Chisholm and Larissa Verhoeven from Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia .

  2. The project provided Accessibility Funds to support a Seeking Safety program facilitated by Mental Health and Addiction Services from Oct-Nov 2016. Nineteen (19) women were referred with 14 completing eight-week program in Port Hawkesbury.
  3. The forum on Male Victimization was held in November with 76 people who wanted to learn more about how sexual violence affects men and boys. The session featured Robert Wright who facilitates the ManTalk program and Nancy MacDonald from the Men’s Health Centre. Local service providers also shared the work they are doing in a panel presentation. The day included several discussion groups. A discussion and evaluation summary have been developed.

    Nancy MacDonald, FSENS, Men's Health Centre

    Nancy MacDonald, FSENS, Men’s Health Centre

  4. The 1BlueString awareness campaign was launched. Forty-seven (47) kits have been distributed. 1BlueString, an awareness campaign of, asks guitarists to replace one of their six strings with blue string to symbolize and support the 1 in 6 male survivors of sexual abuse and assault. We have electric and acoustic kits available for those in the Nova Scotia area. Please e-mail if interested. If in the US, UK, or Australia, you can order kits directly from
  5. The initial meeting of the Men’s Services Advisory Committee was held in November and plans are to meet again January 18th.
  6. Network Meetings are scheduled for January 24th and March 7th. The January 24th Network meeting will include a presentation from Sarah Granke from the Provincial Sexual Violence Strategy office. She will provide an update on the various initiatives underway at the provincial level. The day will include opportunities for county specific discussions on assets and gap analysis.
  7. The communications plan has been proceeding with positive responses from local media who have requested interviews, photos etc. and published press releases. We currently have a Facebook site for photos, events and updates. A website page has been established as part of the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre website under Sexual Assault Services.
  8. The Working Group will prepare its next funding submission in the coming weeks.


For more information on the network contact,

Nancy O’Regan

(902) 870-1320




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