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

Aldergrove Community Secondary. (Aldergrove Star files)
Noel Booth, Douglas Park, RE Mountain, and Aldergrove Secondary see positive COVID tests

As of Monday, May 10, 18 schools are currently on the Fraser Health exposure list

Email your cooking questions to Chef Dez at dez@chefdez.com.
ON COOKING: Chef Dez does parsley pesto

Pesto traditionally has fresh basil but it can also be made with another fresh herb

Langley’s Madison Sweeney a 5’8” forward who began her career playing for Walnut Grove Secondary, has signed with the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) Cascades women’s soccer team. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley’s Madison Sweeney signs with UFV Cascades soccer team

UFV ‘checks all the boxes’ for former Walnut Grove player

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

Elias Pettersson and the Vancouver Canucks drew a large crowd to the Abbotsford Centre in 2019. Canucks management hopes the crowds return for the planned AHL team this fall, and early returns are positive. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Canucks: ‘Incredible’ early interest for Abbotsford AHL tickets

Team has had a strong response to both e-mail information and priority ticket lists

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

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Most Read