York U, Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic partner to provide enhanced counselling services

York University’s Sexual Violence Response Office is partnering with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic to provide enhanced access to personal counselling services for community members who disclose or report sexual violence experienced while registered and/or employed at York.

“When it comes to supporting community members who have experienced sexual violence, we work from a survivor-centric model,” said Debbie Hansen, executive director of York U’s Centre for Sexual Violence Response, Support & Education. “York University has made a commitment to strengthen community supports and resources, and today’s announcement represents very important progress.”

The Barbra Schlifer Clinic will provide prompt access to up to 10 one-hour personal counselling sessions to each community member referred for services through the Sexual Violence Response Office. The community member and clinic counsellor will be able to choose to conduct counselling sessions at the clinic’s location or on campus.

“We are very pleased to be partnering with York,” said Lynne Jenkins, the clinic’s director of counselling. “The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic is a unique, multidisciplinary agency. We provide counselling, housing support, interim legal advice and interpreter services to survivors of sexual violence. Our skilled and compassionate staff work from a client-centred, strength-based model that is trauma informed.”

Prior to this partnership, York students had and continue to have access to personal counselling by experienced professionals on campus through York’s Personal Counselling Services.

York also continues to provide other supports and services for community members who have experienced sexual violence, including academic and employment-related accommodations, student financial support, student housing options and employee assistance program options.

The partnership has resulted in part from York’s commitment to expanded support for sexual violence survivors, which also included the University’s Sexual Violence Policy released in December 2016. York University is committed to creating an environment where all people feel welcome, valued and safe, and to providing the services, programs and resources that will ensure our entire community is supported and empowered.

The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic is a specialized clinic for women experiencing violence, established in the memory of Barbra Schlifer, an idealistic young lawyer whose life was cut short by violence on the night of her call to the Bar of Ontario on April 11, 1980. In her memory, the clinic assists approximately 4,000 women a year to build lives free from violence through counselling, legal representation and language interpretation. Since opening in 1985, the clinic has assisted more than 60,000 women.