South Okanagan Victim Assistance Society (SOVAS)
Our Impact Why We Exist
SOVAS supports victims of sexual assault and violence in relationships. SOVAS has been an non-profit organization in the South Okanagan Similkameen since 1991. We provide free and confidential services to approx 1200 people annually.
Our vision is to build a community that is aware and responsive to issues of violence and abuse. Our mission is to serve and empower individuals who have experienced abuse.
In working with individuals who have experienced abuse, we strive to create an environment for growth based on respect, empowerment, choice and collaboration. This challenges violence and oppression and promotes individual and community wellness.
Our Story What We Do
SOVAS was incorporated as a non- profit organization in 1991. Initially it housed only the Community Based Victim Assistance Program that was funded by the provincial Ministry of the Attorney General and staffed by a coordinator and volunteers. In 1992 the provincial Stopping the Violence Initiative created Women's Counselling Programs funded by the Ministry of Womenís Equality.
In 1993 SOVAS took on the Women's Counselling Program for the Penticton area which was staffed by one counsellor. Since that time the organization has sustained these two programs and taken on other special projects in response to the needs of the community including Family Law Advocacy, Immigrant Outreach, Date Rape Drug Prevention, Assertiveness Training, Violence in Relationships Community Coordination, and others. Based on changing gaps in community services, and funding arrangements these projects come and go, but have a lasting impact on the services as we integrate the learning into existing services once the funding disappears.
In 2009, SOVAS announced the opening of the Men's Counselling Program, for male survivors of abuse, which had long been a goal of the agency. Initially funded solely with community donations and running one day per week, in 2010 the Province partially supported the program through BC Gaming making it more sustainable. SOVAS continues to seek creative ways to continue to provide and expand the service. Both the Women's and Men's Counselling programs carry long waitlists requiring individuals to wait for up to 6 months. On program evaluations, individuals who have used our services comment that SOVAS has provided them with life changing support and tools to pave the road forward. As of 2015, SOVAS has been supporting community members recovering from abuse for 24 years.
Our Programs How We Do It
SOVAS provides key four programs:
1. Women's Counselling Program: provides counselling services to women who have experienced abuse and/or sexual assault, including historical childhood abuse.
2. Men's Counselling Program: provides counselling services to men who have experienced abuse and/or sexual assault, including historical childhood abuse.
3. Victim Assistance Program: provides information, court support, emotional support to men, women and children who have experienced abuse and/or sexual assault, historical childhood abuse.
4. Community Outreach Program: provides education and prevention information on violence in relationships and sexual assault to the community.
What You Can Do
There are several ways for you to support SOVAS.
- Become a Member - It is simple to become a member; all we need is your contact info and mailing address. The more members we have it shows community support which is helpful when applying for grants.
- Make a Donation - Any donations more then $10 will recieve a charitiable tax reciept.
- Host a Fundraiser - SOVAS welcomes new partnerships and fundraising initiatives.
- Gifts for Change - Make a donation in the name of someone you care about and we will send them a card letting them know of your donation in their name.
- In Kind Support - SOVAS has different events throughout the year and often we are looking for donations of different items such as silent auction items or door prizes.
- Volunteer - SOVAS is always looking for new volunteers for both office admin and specifc events.