Sexual Assault Resource Centre ‘sets an important precedent’ at Concordia
Concordia’s new Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) officially opens its doors on November 11. Operating under the umbrella of Counselling and Development, the centre will serve as a confidential resource for students, staff and faculty by providing educational resources, intervention and expert referral services.
Concordia graduate Jennifer Drummond (BFA 06) is the SARC’s coordinator. Drummond, who holds a master’s degree in social work from McGill University, brings a wealth of field and research experience to her position. She currently heads the board of Stella, an organization that provides support and advocates for the rights of sex workers in Montreal.
We sat down with Drummond to find out more about the new resource centre.
Now that the opening date is set, what are your immediate goals?
Jennifer Drummond: We’re going to focus on building up the resource library: books, DVDs, articles, information about resources in the city — anything you can think of that could help support survivors. And, of course, the resources will be available to anyone who wants to get more information.
The other really important action will be to raise awareness and educate people in the Concordia community. We’ll be doing presentations, giving workshops, and getting volunteers involved.
In terms of services and referrals, I'm going to be available to everyone who’s part of the Concordia community. I will meet with them to assess their needs and present the options that are available to them. These include, but aren’t limited to, referrals within Concordia — such as Counselling and Development or Health Services — as well as a variety of external services like the Montreal Sexual Assault Center, Local Community Service Centres (CLSCs) and hospitals.
I also want to collaborate as much as possible with other departments, with student groups and groups like the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy. I think collaboration with both internal and external organizations is going to be key.
Will volunteers play a role at the centre?
JD: Yes. The more volunteers we have, the more presentations and workshops we can give. Volunteers will also play an important role in the peer support that will eventually be offered.
Students from any department are encouraged to come and volunteer. I think that we can really benefit from a diverse set of people with a range of skills: Concordia is a very diverse campus, and I think that is going to work to our advantage.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge?
JD: I think one of the biggest challenges is going to be managing initial expectations.
There's a lot of excitement and interest around this centre, which is great. But it’s going to take time to develop all of the resources, and get all the services up and running.
Concordia developed the concept for the centre in collaboration with the 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy. What does it mean for the university to have a sexual assault resource centre?
JD: I think it's amazing. When I heard that it was happening, I was thrilled. It's going to be a great resource for students and for the whole Concordia community.
I think it also sets a really important precedent. This is something that's an important part of the health, safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff. It's something that universities need to offer and need to fund.
To contact Jennifer Drummond, or to find out more about the Sexual Assault Resource Centre, telephone 514-848-2424, ext. 3353. The centre will be located in Room GM-300.27 of the Guy-Metro Building (1550 De Maisonneuve Blvd. W.) on the Sir George Williams Campus.