The Toronto Rape Crisis Centre (TRCC) was established on February 14th, 1974, run entirely by volunteers.
The early 1980’s were difficult financially for TRCC. It was only with the help of the City of Toronto and Metro Social Services that we were able to continue operating. Despite our financial concerns, we were able to complete a videotape on sexual assault and compile a chapter for the book, “No Safe Place: Violence Against Women and Children”.
TRCC launched an important hospital program which included a checklist of procedures for medical staff, a pamphlet for survivors, and the handbook “Emergency Room Care for Rape Victims”. We expanded our programs to include a social services liaison and an educational program with crown attorneys which offered us the opportunity to provide extensive, on-going legal education.
In the mid 1980’s, TRCC moved to a larger location (largely due to centre member Jill Tauren’s death and her leaving the centre listed as a beneficiary) and the volunteer base double. Much of the time was spent creating training, hosting workshops and program development. In 1987, there was a focus in Toronto on serial rapists. We were active in that crisis by organizing and speaking at community events.
In the late 1980’s, financial difficulties resurfaced. TRCC responded by establishing a wide range of effective fundraising activities including an art auction and a film benefit. By 1989, we were looking at ways to eliminate the physical, cultural and linguistic barriers faced by Torontonians needing our services. We improved wheelchair accessibility and obtained a TTY to make the crisis line available to people who were deaf and hearing impaired.
In 1989, The Multicultural Access Project began and expanded annually by leaps and bounds. It has led to increased cultural, racial and linguistic diversification of TRCC staff and volunteers, and the implementation of strategies designed to further diversity the centre to reflect Toronto’s population.
The 1990’s brought a substantial increase in funding, primarily from the Province of Ontario. In addition, we successfully moved to a new location in December of 1992. TRCC now has three counselling rooms; a large community space as well as a child care room. The community at large can access our space for groups, meetings and social events.
We worked with the Feminist Advocates for Counselling Ethics and Women Counselling, Referral and Education Centre and created a Clients Rights handbook, providing clients with an overview of their rights when accessing services. We also worked with Egla Martinez to create support for Spanish speaking survivors, which led to the creation of the Latin Women’s Program at TRCC.
Through TRCC’s growth, there have been obstacles, resistance, conflict and personal difficulties which hindered but not deterred our commitment to eradicating rape.