The Willow Room is opening inside the Ann Davis Transition Society offices on Dec. 1, 2020. (Ann Davis Transitional Society)

The Willow Room is opening inside the Ann Davis Transition Society offices on Dec. 1, 2020. (Ann Davis Transitional Society)

New ‘trauma-informed’ reporting room opening next week in Chilliwack

It’s a space for reporting domestic violence, sexual assault, or gender-based violence to police

It’s estimated that only about 10 per cent of domestic violence, sexual assault, and gender-based violence ever gets reported to police.

The partners who’ve come together to carve out a safe space for women to report these incidents in Chilliwack are hoping to change that.

“To my knowledge this will be the first of its kind in the province,” Patti MacAhonic, executive director of the Ann Davis Transition Society. “It’s the way things should be done.”

The Willow Room will be located at 9046 Young Road in Chilliwack. It was specially designed as a “soft reporting” room to give victims of domestic violence and sexual assault an alternative to telling their story in the cold, institutional atmosphere of an RCMP detachment.

The Willow Room project, opening on Dec. 1, came about from a partnership between Ann Davis, the RCMP Domestic Violence Unit, Wilma House, Pearl Renewal Society, and Sto:lo Women. It will be available 24/7 with a crisis worker to help create in a trauma-informed, culturally sensitive and supported environment to talk about what happened with police.

A UBC study was commissioned by Ann Davis officials on the various obstacles to women reporting this type of violent crime.

“This is really needed,” MacAhonic underlined.

Using trauma-informed interview techniques will be key to creating a trauma-informed space and fostering trust. The room is set up to be culturally welcoming as well.

“Having a safe trauma informed space for women to report in our community is vital for their wellbeing,” said Kathleen Mosa, executive director of Wilma House.

When someone calls the RCMP and asks for this service, or if one of the project partners does, those responding will have training needed for a timely response, with sensitivity, access to resources, and follow-up ability.

MacAhonic said the new space will wholly redefine how they help people who are ready to file RCMP reports on these types of violent and damaging crimes.

By calling the RCMP and asking for this “Willow Room” service, or by calling direct to 604-792-3116, it will be available as of next Tuesday.

Law enforcement plays a crucial role in supporting survivors, and they are uniquely positioned to do so.

“The responding officer’s awareness of the needs of those reporting, common responses to victimization, and the particular needs of distinct victim populations can help the officer avoid a re-victimization.”

When survivors are ready to tell their stories it can go either way.

“Disclosing a traumatic event has the potential to be an affirming or re-traumatizing experience,” MacAhonic added.

“Those who work extensively with women want to ensure that women are being heard, supported and not further victimized, and that is why this important project has been put in place.”

READ MORE: Safe houses are both pet friendly

READ MORE: Crisis calls are on the rise during the pandemic

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


@CHWKjourno
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

City of ChilliwackRCMPwomen shelters

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pixabay image
Surrey recovers 29,000 jobs it lost to pandemic

That’s according to Surrey Board of Trade’s fifth Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19

Desmond Tompkins helped curate and host a youth art show at the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre art show highlights ‘diverse perspectives’

With COVID-19 protocols in place, youth art show underway

RCMP Isp. Benoit Maure (top right) has written a book, Leading at the Edge, which details Canadian peacekeeping missions, including his own 1999 mission in Guatemala (bottom right). (Contributed photos)
Longtime RCMP officer pens book on Canadian peacekeeping efforts

RCMP Insp. Benoit Maure’s new book, Leading at the Edge, features stories from 10 missions

The SACH Community Hub team, from left to right: Upkar Singh Tatlay, Gary Thandi, Allysha Ram, Jassy Pandher, Harman Pander. (Submitted photo)
There’s help for South Asian men wrestling with drug addiction in Surrey

South Asian deaths related to toxic drugs increased by 255 per cent between 2015 and 2018

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Most Read