January 18, 2017 — The Hon. Maryam Monsef, Member of Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha announced the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre’s (KSAC) successful application to receive a $464,983 contribution fund, over four years, from The Public Health Agency of Canada. The announcement was made at a special event hosted by KSAC, The Mane Intent Inc., and Trent University and supported by the participation of the Hon. Kim Rudd, Member of Parliament for Northumberland-Peterborough South and other local dignitaries at the event.
“I am very proud of the work being done here in Peterborough region by the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre, working with partners like Trent University and The Mane Intent, to address the lasting physical and mental impact of family violence. This innovative program offers survivors the chance to rebuild a sense of trust through support of each other and the horses they will work with. With this contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the program will help to ensure that survivors of family violence know they are not alone in rebuilding their lives and their health,” said the Hon. Maryam Monsef, Member of Parliament, Peterborough-Kawartha at the event.
“This project responds to one of the darkest problems we have as a society in an incredibly creative way. It’s well-known that animals can provide deep and lasting comfort to those who have experienced trauma. I want to commend the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre for their tireless support and advocacy for those whose voices are dimmed by pain, but will never be silenced,” added the Hon. Kim Rudd, Member of Parliament, Northumberland-Peterborough South.
This investment will support the development and delivery of a new community-based program called Building Internal Resilience Through Horses. The program is designed to promote resilience and life skills in young women aged 13 – 18 years living in the City and County of Peterborough and surrounding areas who are survivors of child maltreatment and/or young women exposed to intimate partner violence. The funding is part of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Innovation Strategy supporting the Health of Victims of Domestic Violence and Child Abuse through Community Programs. This innovative project will be led by the KSAC in partnership with The Mane Intent Inc. and researchers from Trent University’s Emotion and Health Research Laboratory. KSAC was one of over 150 agencies from across Canada to apply for the funding and one of 16 organizations to successfully receive funding. Today’s event was held at The Mane Intent in Indian River, Ontario.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with The Mane Intent and Trent University on this unique offering for young women who have been exposed to intimate partner trauma. Our hope at the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre is that young women who participate in the expressive arts and equine learning series will have an opportunity for learning and increased capacity for self-care and personal choice; our goal is simple, we want to help prevent harm and reduce risk. We think this innovative project will help build this possibility. As well, building capacity for trauma and violence informed practice in the community of Peterborough and the Kawarthas for front line service practitioners is an added benefit,” said Sonya Vellenga, Executive Director, Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre.
The initiative is founded on the premise that, through the hands on experience of equine-assisted learning combined with expressive and psychoeducational workshops, young women will reduce post-traumatic symptoms, improve mental health, enhance personal coping skills and resilience, while reducing post-traumatic symptoms and their risk of harm in the future. It will further existing research on the benefits of equine-assisted learning for survivors of child maltreatment and for young women exposed to intimate partner violence.
KSAC will work with a variety of community partners who will refer young women to participate in the program, including the Kawartha Haliburton Children’s Aid Society, Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle, Community Counselling and Resource Centre, and YWCA Peterborough Haliburton, among others. Community partners will also be invited to participate in knowledge exchange opportunities that focus on increased capacity for trauma and violence informed practice, as well as sharing innovative approaches to building resilience. The project will culminate in a national conference focused on resilience for community-based organizations, health service providers, community service providers, educators and others with an interest in interventions that address the physical and mental health needs of victims of domestic violence and child abuse.
“At Trent University’s Emotion and Health Research Laboratory, we are committed to translating our research into practice, focusing on the development of socioemotional competencies to enhance mental health and resilience among children, youth, and young adults. The equine assisted learning is a promising and unique pathway for health promotion and resilience building. We are excited about the opportunity to work with Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre and The Mane Intent to bring this program to our community and to strengthen its scientific evidence base, so that it can be sustained long term and disseminated Canada wide,” said Kateryna Keefer, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Trent University.
Building Internal Resilience Through Horses is also a participant in the Knowledge Hub. The Knowledge Hub connects and enhances trauma-informed health promotion projects funded through the Public Health Agency of Canada’s investment to support victims of family violence. The Hub is led by Western University’s Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women & Children.
“Our intent is to help people gain self-knowledge and personal coping skills required for a healthy and fulfilling life at home and work by working in partnership with horses as natural coaches. We’re looking forward to working with the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre and Trent University to demonstrate that equine assisted learning is an effective intervention strategy for building resilience in young women who have experienced trauma,” said Jennifer Garland, Owner/Program Director, The Mane Intent
For more information or to register for Building Internal Resilience Through Horses, please contact the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre at 705-748-5901 and ask for Katie. Participants are required to register with a parent or guardian.