So much can happen over 35 years! 

Take a look at OCRCC's "Herstory": how we began, our activities over the years, and what has been acheived for survivors of sexual violence...

1974

The first Rape Crisis Centres in Ontario are established in Toronto and Ottawa.

1975

The Secretary of State contacts women in centres and offers to fund a meeting for them to get together.

1976

Meetings are held in Kitchener, Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton to exchange information and discuss areas of mutual concern.

1977

In July, the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres is established.

1978

Member centres now include Guelph, Windsor, Waterloo, Hamilton, Toronto, Peterborough, Ottawa, Kingston, Cornwall, London and Sault Ste. Marie.

Centres participate in developing the sexual assault evidence kit.

1979

1979,

Cont.

The Coalition is consulted by the Provincial Secretariat for Justice Consultation on Rape. Women from the Coalition participate in the work of several subcommittees of the Consultation, including the writing of a victim-oriented handbook for people coming into contact with victims of rape and sexual assault.

The Secretary of State grants $3,600.00 for Coalition work.

The Coalition provides input into the formation of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres.

The Coalition develops a constitution and outlines the common understanding and the reasons for our work. Women believe the present structure is most conducive to a cooperative effort for accomplishing our goals and objectives.

1980

On May 13, the Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres becomes incorporated with charitable status in order to meet requirements for core funding by the provincial government. The following centres are accepted as members: Algoma District Sexual Assault Centre, Centre des femmes (Cornwall) Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, Hamilton Rape Crisis Centre, Kenora Women's Crisis Intervention Centre, Kingston Rape Crisis Centre, Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre, Peterborough Rape Relief, Scugog and District Sexual Abuse (Rape) Crisis Centre, Sexual Assault Crisis Centre of Essex County (Windsor), Thunder Bay Rape and Sexual Assault Crisis Centre, Timmins Rape Crisis Centre and Toronto Rape Crisis Centre.

The Coalition is accepted as a member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) in February.

Women from member centres attend the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres (C.A.S.A.C) conference in Winnipeg in May.

In reaction to increasing violence against women, warnings for women to stay off streets and not walk without male protection after dark are issued. In response to this women begin to organize Take Back The Night marches. The first such marches are held in August in the United States, France, Belgium, Mexico, and Canada. In Ontario, T.B.N. marches are held in Toronto, Oshawa, Port Perry, Ottawa and Windsor.

The Coalition works to change the sexual assault laws in the Criminal Code by carefully reviewing Bill C-53.

The Coalition's Law Reform Committee is instrumental in developing the forensic evidence kit used as evidence in cases of rape.

The Coalition negotiates a service contract of $185,000.00 from the

Secretary of Justice of Ontario, with additional support for the following two years. The coalition strikes numerous working committees, such as Policy, Research, Outreach and Fundraising. It expands its work as an
advisory and consulting body to government and to other provincial organizations.

The Coalition hires a full time employee, Holly Cole of Guelph, to be the provincial office coordinator.

1981

The first Annual Report is presented.

Rape Crisis Centres' funding is managed through the Coalition and all new centres must wait one full year from the date of acceptance as a member before they are eligible for funding.

Women attend a national convention of the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres (CASAC) in Ottawa on June 18-23, where national policies are developed.

1982

Lobbying efforts intensify, so as to keep up with the increasing numbers of women seeking support and crisis services.

Due to profound efforts by many Coalition volunteers, Bill C-127 is passed in recognition of the severity of sexual assault and treatment of victims!

1983

The Coalition endorses the Lesbian Day of Action, March 27.  Ontario Rape Crisis Centres organizes actions ranging from taking part in Lesbian Pride Marches to educational workshops and donations to the Lesbian Mothers' Defence Fund.

A grant in the amount of $200,000.00 is provided by the Provincial Secretariat for Justice to the Coalition for the fiscal year of 1983-84.  The Coalition distributes these funds throughout the year to member centres according to the budgets submitted in their grant proposals. An agreement is also in place for the years of 1984-86.

The Coalition, as a member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC) attends its first NAC convention in Ottawa.


Rape Shield Law, Bill C-127 "to amend the Criminal Code in relation to sexual offences, stipulating a women's past sexual history is not relevant" is passed.

1984

The Trillium Foundation grants the Coalition $129,500.00.

A province-wide picket of video shops is held on April 9 to protest the sale and rental of "pornographic" videos. In February, at the Coalition meeting in Oshawa, members stage an anti-pornography protest demonstration at Whitby Audio.

1985

Committees on the Coalition now include: Finance Committee; Trillium Committee; Outreach Committee; Newsletter Committee and the Sexual Assault treatment Centres Ad Hoc Committee.

The Coalition has a newsletter "Mirrors".

Over a one year period, volunteers in rape crisis centres log over 6,500 counselling hours, travel almost 10,000 miles, respond to 3,500 information calls and reach an audience of over 25,000 people.

1986

In the area of sexual assault, more women are fighting back against offenders, and are consequently getting charged with assault.  

1987

C.A.S.A.C. holds a conference in Toronto and the Coalition members participate in the planning.
The Ontario Women's Directorate requests that the Coalition be part of an advisory body for a province-wide media campaign addressing sexual assault.

1988

Coalition members implement a complex organizational evaluation.

On March 14, 1988 Toronto Rape Crisis Centre and the Coalition stage a “mock trial”, addressing a judge whose process was unfair in consideration to rape cases.

"Whack" the Sexual Assault complainant at preliminary inquiry gets published in Lawyers Weekly. In response to Rape Shield law defense, lawyers in sexual assault cases are using subpoenas to try to introduce information on women that could affect her testimony or her credibility as a witness.

1989

Ottawa SASC starts an outreach project for Deaf and hard of hearing women.

Self-help groups are now becoming a part of the way most centres work.

Oshawa begins to work with child survivors.

1990

Annualized funding for five years is allocated to twenty Sexual Assault Crisis Centres by the Ontario Government through the Sexual Assault Initiative.  A lobby liaison committee is struck to work with Ministry of the Solicitor General to determine how this funding will impact on centres.

$400,000.00 is designated to 9 centres to establish Francophone services.

New funding causes problems in the small northern community of Timmins and the Coalition is called in to support and assist with restructuring.

1991

Timmins is again a viable centre with a new structure and new staff in place.  It officially re-opens its doors in March/92.

1992

Under the guidance of facilitators Sandra Butler (author or Conspiracy of Silence; The Trauma of Incest; Feminist Group work and Cancer in Two Voices) and Ellen Kashak (author of Engendered Lives) and Sarah Sharrett of California, a retreat is held in Niagara-on-the-Lake to begin a process of organizational review and self-reflection, funded by the Ministry of Solicitor General’s Office.

Organizational Review/Anti-recession project grants are made available to all rape crisis and sexual assault centres in Ontario including the OCRCC. The Coalition hires an organizational review consultant.

1993

In March a Re-Structuring Committee is proposed to re-examine all Coalition structures, seeking a more diverse representation of women. This committee is equally comprised of Black women/women of Colour and White women.

A crisis line with an 800 number is opened in Guelph for Grandview survivors. Funds were made available through the Attorney General’s Office from a compensation package awarded to women who were sexually abused while detained in the Grandview training school for young girls.

New anti-stalking law is passed by the Federal Government (Criminal harassment).

1994

Restructuring of OCRCC’s Provincial Office takes place.  A new office opens in Toronto. The official Open house is held on Sept.30th.

The Coalition moves from direct Government funding to a membership base.

1995

Member Centre's are threatened with fines for refusing to turn over confidential files on women.

The Coalition participates in televised debates related to our refusal to turn over files in court proceedings.

The Coalition changes its Board structure.  It closes its head office in Toronto; instead, individual centres take on Coalition business administration. The Coalition chooses to organize a work-related workshop based on the needs of member centres at each membership meeting (4 times a year).

1996

The McGuire Report diminishes the work of shelters and RCC's.  It is held back by a strong feminist network, denouncing its credibility and the author’s agenda. The Coalition assists in lobby efforts.

Coalition receives grant from Ministry Solicitor General to put all centres online, and assist with the purchase of modems.

1997

The Coalition celebrates 20 years of work at its Annual General Meeting in Toronto!

The Supreme court rules to toss out a gross indecency charge in Windsor because notes of an interview with the complainant were shredded by the Windsor Sexual Assault Centre.

1998

Rape Crisis/Sexual Assault Centres are funded annually.
Annual General meeting held in Sudbury.

CASAC is revitalized with funding for a “making the links” project.


Barrie Centre is shut down and all funds transferred to Rosewood Shelter.

1999

The Coalition participates in Women Our Vote Counts campaign.

Our Annual General meeting is held in Timmins.

All centres are online and Coalition has a website!

2000

O.C.R.C.C participates in the Cross-Sectoral Violence Against Women Strategy Group: a network of organizations working to address the issues violence against women and children.

2001

O.C.R.C.C supports the attendance of one member to attend the Anti- Racism Conference, South Africa.  A Sexual Harassment workshop is presented on behalf of the Coalition at the Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centre.

Women’s Resistance: From Victimization to Criminalization Conference attendance is supported by a grant from Trillium Foundation.

Annual General meeting is held in Grey-Bruce.

2002

The Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres celebrated its 25th anniversary as a provincial organization!

O.C.R.C.C completes its Strategic Plan for the next five years(2003-2008). The goals are:

  • Be a strong and credible voice on issues of sexual violence in all aspects of public discussion, policy and decision making.
  • Achieve financial and operational stability as well as expanded and innovative programming within Rape Crisis/Sexual Assault Centres across Ontario.
  • Develop an integrated understanding of how gender based inequalities are inextricably linked to anti-oppression and broader concerns for social justice.
  • Achieve a transformation in the diversity of representation of women from multiply-marginalized groups among OCRCC delegates, leadership and staff.
  • Have a stronger links and relationships with Provincial partners in campaigns and movements to eradicate violence against women, poverty and racism and work for social justice at all levels of society.

This is funded by the Ministry of Attorney General, Victim Services Division.

2004

The Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres introduces an action research project “Changing with the Times- The Rape Crisis Movement 25 years later: Renewing Advocacy, Program and Policy Work Across Ontario was implemented. It includes a six months province-wide campaign bearing the theme “Make My Community Safe: End Sexual Violence”. Each month a secondary message is launched:

Make my home safe : end sexual abuse

Make my school safe: end sexual assault

Make my workplace safe: end sexual harassment

Make my streets safe: end sexual assault

Make my friendships safe: end date rape

Make health care safe: end patient abuse

Make old age safe: end elder abuse

The campaign calls on Premier Dalton Mc Guinty to make sexual violence a priority for his government. Buttons, Postcards, Bumper stickers are produced in English, French and Spanish for distribution. This project is funded $90,000 by the Status of Women Canada. Le Centre Victoria pours femmes de Sudbury and the Timmins and Area Women in Crisis announced the establishment of a new an independent Sexual Assault Centre for Francophone women in the District of Cochrane.

Funding is approved $ 151,000 for the implementation of a (30) months community Capacity Building Grant by the Ministry of Attorney General –OVSS. Project name “Applying an Intersectoral Approach to working with Marginalized Communities”. One of the deliverable a Best Practice Manual for internal use within RCC/SACs.

Members participate in a successful Volunteer Board Training / Conference (over 2 days). 70 staff/volunteers from member Centres attend from across the Province of Ontario. This initiative is funded by Ministry of Attorney General, OVSS.

Wife Assault Prevention Month is marked by a continuing province-wide campaign to draw public and political attention to sexual violence occurring in the home.

Annual General Meeting hosted by Chatham- Kent Sexual Assault Centre.

2005

OWD hosts a provincial conference: Finding Common Ground: Experts, Professionals and Front-line Workers.  Many stakeholders assemble to share ideas and discuss solutions. Two OCRCC members are presenters.

Annual General Meeting held in Toronto.

2006

A letter is sent to Premier Dalton McGuinty regarding the establishment of A Sexual Harassment Awareness Week.

A letter is sent out to MPPs regarding Bill 107: An act to amend the Human Rights Code, relating to sexual harassment in the workplace.

OCRCC releases a supportive guideline for centres regarding event planning and preparation, as well as guidelines for hosting all candidates’ debates in preparation for the fall provincial election.

Annual General Meeting held in Sarnia.

2008

Updates on the McMurtry Victim Compensation Review, the Sexual Violence Action Plan, the Minister’s Office VAW Stakeholder Group, and the Step it Up campaign.

Annual General Meeting held in Halton.

2009

Centres take part in designing the new OCRCC website: www.sexualassaultsupport.ca!

Member centres and OCRCC’s Coordinator advocate for survivors of gender-based violence by addressing the following current issues:

  • Ontario Safe Schools Recommendations 2008
  • The impact of the economic downturn upon incidences of gender-based violence in Ontario (CBC report)
  • Support for the Ontario Campus Toolkit Project (Dr. Molly Dragiewicz and Dr. Walter DeKeseredy, Criminology, Justice & Policy Studies, University of Ontario Institute of Technology)
  • Carleton University’s response to a 2007 on-campus incident of sexual assault
  • Support for Amnesty International’s campaign on women victimized by sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The Ministry of Labour holds consultation meetings with employer, labour, community and other stakeholders regarding Bill 168 this.  Bill 168 addresses protection in the workplace from sexual and other forms of harassment

OCRCC joins the Sexual Assault Centre (SAC) Program Advisory Committee.  This committee provides solution-based input and recommendations to OVSS Management on SAC program development, implementation and service delivery issues

The Ontario Women’s Directorate (OWD) invites OCRCC to hold a training for all OWD staff, MAG and other professionals concerning sexual violence, systemic barriers impacting survivors, and the need for an anti-oppression analysis in developing the SVAP. The session is extremely well-received, and participants have an opportunity to consider the complexity of issues experienced by survivors of sexual violence.

Niagara hosts the AGM.

2010

OCRCC writes Letters to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews concerning:

  • Offensive comments on the merits of legally differentiating between "rape" and "sexual assault”
  • The treatment of, and allegations of sexualized violence against, activist women at the G20 in Toronto
  • The importance of incorporating a gender analysis in Canada’s Emergency Preparedness planning, and responses to emergencies in other countries

In the summer of 2010, the Ontario Women’s Directorate (OWD), in partnership with Ontario sexual assault centres, consults with survivors of sexual violence for the purpose of informing the Ontario Sexual Violence Action Plan (SVAP). Survivors of sexual violence attend consultation meetings in Guelph, Peel, Toronto, Ottawa,  Sudbury, Kenora and Sarnia.  The survivor consultation meetings are integral to a survivor-focused and informed SVAP!

OCRCC also takes part in many other aspects of the development of the Ontario Sexual Violence Action Plan.  These include:

  • Contributing to the development of the SVAP vision and principles
  • Consulting with OWD staff at several planning meetings
  • Participate in a pre-consultation meeting with provincial VAW stakeholders
  • Hosting a consultation with OCRCC membership)rape crisis and sexual assault centres
  • Participate in a consultation session on Campus Safety
  • Participate in a consultation session on Public Education High School
  • Participate in a consultation session on Training Needs for Professionals
  • Participate in a consultation session on Trafficking Consultation

AGM held in York.

2011

OCRCC, with support from Ontario Women’s Directorate, offers Skill Building Training in Trauma Recovery: a 3 day trauma training.  Two front-line staff from each centre across the province attend.  OCRCC hosts Anna B. Baranowsky from Traumatology Institute, Natalie Zlodre from the Trauma and Resiliency Program, Hincks-Dellcrest Institute, and Karena Kyne from Come And Sit Together (CAST).

On March 2, 2011, the Ontario Women's Directorate announces the launch of the Sexual Violence Action Plan -- an initiative to prevent sexual violence, and improve supports for survivors of sexual violence.   The Action Plan includes initiatives, such as:

  • Support for anti-violence agencies to develop and deliver training to professionals in the community, health, education and justice sectors
  • Increased funding to Ontario sexual assault centres
  • Support to OCRCC and Action ontarienne to develop and deliver training for staffs concerning support for women experiencing addictions and trauma
  • Funds for OCRCC and Action ontarienne for educational materials on sexual violence
  • Resources for campus sexual assault prevention
  • A forum on sexual safety of older women, as part of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

In the fall OCRCC, with support from Ontario Women’s Directorate, offers Anti-Oppression Training: a one-day training.  Two staff from each centre across the province attend.  The training takes place in Cornwall, Ontario and is facilitated by Joan Riggs from Catalyst Research & Communications.  AGM is also held in Cornwall, Ontario.

2012

OCRCC writes to the the Standing Committee On Public Safety and National Security to oppose Bill C-19:  An Act to End the Long Gun Registry.  Bill C-19, if passed, will eliminate a valuable tool that enhances public safety and protects women from firearm violence, in particular the safety of women and children in the context of domestic violence situations. Despite the contributions and testimony of many anti-violence women’s advocates over many years, the Long Gun Registry is abolished.

Multiple sexual assault centres and community allies write to support the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic’s constitutional challenge of Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB).  The Legal Clinic is concerned that recent changes by the CICB have lead to practices favouring the interests of offenders over those of survivors – most specifically, that offenders are invited to participate in CICB hearings, even if the survivor requests that this does not occur. 

OCRCC writes to Parliament concerning the Omnibus Crime Bill, Bill C-10. Bill C-10 aims to impose mandatory sentences and limit judicial discretion. Bill C-10 is rushed through the House of Commons without attention to its costs, consequences, and the legitimate concerns of our provinces, First Nations, women, youth and countless other individuals, organizations and experts. The Omnibus Bill is passed.

OCRCC, in partnership with Action ontarienne, worked to support the development of the Sexual Violence Action Plan’s provincial public education campaign addressing bystanders.  The campaign, Draw The Line, launches in May 2012.

OCRCC contacts the Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA), asking how we can work together to support the work of both the Sexual Violence Action Plan and the Strategic Framework to End Violence Against Aboriginal Women.

OCRCC is accepted as a member of the Law Commission of Ontario’s Community Council!   The Law Commission of Ontario is an independent organization that researches issues, and recommends law reform measures to make the law more accessible and relevant to all Ontario communities.  They are initiating a Community Council as part of fulfilling their strategic plan commitments, and inviting community groups to help inform their work. 

Sly Castaldi (Guelph-Wellington) and Jo-Anne Brooks (Renfrew) receive the Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of outstanding contributions to their communities, province and country!

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