Abuse survivor launches financial assistance foundation

A new foundation has been created to help male survivors access counselling.

Students who need help paying for counselling may qualify for fund at Sudbury's Cambrian College

A new foundation has been created to help male survivors access counselling.

The Canadian Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse was created by a former Cambrian College student who said he was fortunate enough to have the cost of his counselling covered when he was still in school.

Former Cambrian College student Paul Leduc appreciated the financial support he received for counselling while he was in school and he wants to do the same for others. (Hilary Duff/CBC)

Paul Leduc was a student two years ago when he had his breakdown.

"I was here for about four months or so when I sort of hit a bit of a rock bottom," he said.

Leduc said he was sexually abused as a child by a family friend and sought counselling in Sudbury with psychotherapist Jack Juhlin.

"Being a student, he knew I had little to no money, so basically I was bringing him coffee money at the time until we started searching for other avenues of how to receive funding," Leduc recalled.

Eventually he received funding for his counselling from a provincial bursary.

Now he wants to help others like himself. Leduc started the foundation so that other students can be "given the opportunity, like I was, to receive therapy."

The society is almost up-and-running, and Leduc is in the process of registering it as a non-profit organization.

Additional support will help

The director of the Glen Crombie Centre for Student Support at Cambrian College said additional funding from Leduc's organization would help the several male abuse survivors she sees coming forward every year.

The centre offers a bursary worth $2,000 and it's usually enough to cover a student's therapy needs.

However Susan Alcorn MacKay said it's restrictive because it's limited to those students eligible for Ontario Student Assistance Plan funds.

"It's a bursary for students with disabilities that the provincial government provides and they have some exceptional needs that are going to need to be addressed if they're going to stay in school successfully," MacKay said.

"Not all students qualify for the bursary for students with disabilities. If they're not on OSAP, they wouldn't qualify."

MacKay said her office offers brief therapy sessions on campus and can also direct students toward community help.