Workers with a support program in northwestern Ontario say they can help Aboriginal women who continue to be on edge after the abduction and sexual assault of a First Nations woman in Thunder Bay late last year.
Police have yet to make any arrests in the case.
The supervisor of the Talk 4 Healing help line said the service can offer culturally sensitive support for women who don't feel safe in the city.
“A lot of our workers grew up on reserve [and] they understand what those, specifically in isolated areas, are going through,” Robin Haliuk said.
“And they understand the issues around relocating; I mean they moved to the city once, too.”
Haliuk said the service has received about 200 calls since launching in October. The trained Aboriginal women who answer the phone offer guidance and understanding to callers, she said.
It is her hope that women will call in “if they're not feeling safe, if they want to talk about safety planning, if they want some additional resources to help.”
Haliuk noted that many First Nations women are “dealing with some of the safety concerns that we are dealing with in Thunder Bay.”
The Talk 4 Healing help line is a partnership between the Ontario Native Women's Association and Beendigan emergency shelter.