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24 Hour Crisis & Information Line: 905-682-4584

Counselling Services

Counselling Department

Approach: Trauma Counselling Model for Sexual Assault, Incest and Childhood Sexual Abuse

What we do: Three Stages.  Three Steps.  Three choices.     

The way we work with you:
Below is a brief description of what you can expect in your work with each of the counsellors at this agency. We will of course be most attentive to your own goals and wishes and work to collaborate with you on how best to support you in facilitating change.

Step 1

Initially, you will have the choice to meet together for up to 10 sessions. With emphasis on what you need and what will best support you; the first 10 sessions will focus on the development of safety and stabilization. This may include but is not limited to: management of symptoms like depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, anger, flashbacks… We will then take time to integrate your new choices and ways of being.

Step 2

When you choose to return, the next 10 sessions will focus on managing how memory of the abuse/assault may keep intruding on your day-to-day way of being. This work is offered in a context of respect, compassion, care and skill.  Together we stay attentive to how you are thinking, feeling and physically experiencing this process. Once again, after 10 sessions, we take time so you can integrate your new choices and ways of being.

Stage 3

In the next 8 to 10 sessions, we review and strengthen the gains from the previous two phases and we further work to consolidate and integrate emotional, social and relational changes and abilities.

(The ISTSS Expert Consensus Treatment Guidelines for Complex PTSD in Adults, p. 7-10, 2012. Completed by the Complex Trauma Task Force (CTTF)) 

Counselling Services

We provide the following services to women and men 16 years of age and older and other identified:

  • Individual assessment and counselling
  • Counselling in various locations including St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Fort Erie, Port Colborne, Welland and Grimsby
  • Group counselling for women and men (separate groups)
  • Family member support and education
  • Anonymous third party reporting
  • Professional consultation and training

The intention of counselling is to:

  • Address the impact of childhood sexual abuse, incest and sexual assault (recent or historical)
  • Manage trauma symptoms related to sexual violation (i.e. depression, anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, dissociation, sleep disturbances, self-harm behaviours, body image concerns, relationship issues)
  • Develop and increase confidence and self-trust

All services are:

  • Provided by Master’s level trained therapists specializing in trauma counselling
  • Confidential and free
  • Self-referrals are accepted and encouraged. Simply call to make an appointment.

Types of Sexual Violence


Adult Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is any form of unwanted sexual activity that is forced upon a person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault can range from unwanted sexual touching to forced intercourse. While most sexual assaults are perpetrated against women, both women and men can and are sexually assaulted.

Source: Ontario Network for Sexual Assault / Domestic Violence Treatment Centers

The term incest refers to sexual contact between family members. It is where a child’s needs for security, love and acceptance are exploited in a sexual manner.

Source: RAINN and Judith Herman

Childhood Sexual Abuse
Childhood sexual abuse includes any form of unwanted or coerced sexual touch including but not limited to fondling, exposure, exploitation, attempted or actual sexual assaults towards a young adult or child. Childhood sexual abuse is a betrayal of trust that often affects a person’s ability to connect with and trust others.

Source: Durham Rape Crisis Centre

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is sexual behavior that is unwanted. Often the harasser is someone in a position of formal authority, but harassment occurs between co-workers or peers as well.

Source: Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter

Sexual Violence
“Any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality”. Sexual violence is a broad term that describes a continuum of aggression, abuse and violence. It includes but is not limited to sexual abuse, sexual assault, rape, (date, marital, partner, stranger, gang), ritual abuse, sexual harassment, incest, childhood sexual abuse, molestation, stalking, indecent/sexualized exposure, degrading sexual imagery, voyeurism, exhibitionism, dissemination of sexual photographs electronically, (cyber harassment), rape during armed conflict, trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Source: OCRCC

What is sexual assault? 

Sexual assault is a crime of power and control. The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include:

  • Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape
  • Attempted rape
  • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching

What is rape? 

Rape is a form of sexual assault, but not all sexual assault is rape. The term rape is often used as a legal definition to specifically include sexual penetration without consent. For its Uniform Crime Reports, the FBI defines rape as “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. A child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity, period. When a perpetrator engages with a child this way, they are committing a crime that can have lasting effects on the victim for years. Child sexual abuse does not need to include physical contact between a perpetrator and a child. Some forms of child sexual abuse include:

  • Obscene phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction
  • Fondling
  • Exhibitionism, or exposing oneself to a minor
  • Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing the minor to masturbate
  • Intercourse
  • Sex of any kind with a minor, including vaginal, oral, or anal
  • Producing, owning, or sharing pornographic images or movies of children
  • Sex trafficking
  • Any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare

Source: RAINN 

Types of Abusers

If you have just been sexually assaulted

Call our 24 hour crisis & information line at 905-682-4584

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