Government of Yukon releases What We Heard report on expanding Sexualized Assault Response Team services

The Government of Yukon believes that all victims of sexualized assault should have access to the supports they need, when and where they need them.

Following a summer 2023 engagement on expanding Sexualized Assault Response Team (SART) services to rural Yukon communities, the Government of Yukon and partners today released a What We Heard report. This report represents a milestone in the Government of Yukon’s commitment to addressing sexualized violence in rural Yukon.

The What We Heard report brings together the voices of victims, Yukon First Nations peoples, service providers and community stakeholders, offering a comprehensive review of the current landscape of support services and the unique challenges faced in Yukon communities.

During engagements, the Government of Yukon heard of the need for:

  • increased awareness of resources and services for victims of sexualized violence;
  • access to robust cultural and land-based healing supports;
  • providing extensive training available to service providers and volunteers that is trauma- and violence-informed and culturally safe;
  • more safe houses, shelters, service hubs and improved infrastructure for victims;
  • reliable transportation services between communities to access services; and
  • clear policy guidance and comprehensive training to ensure standardized protocols and procedures for Evidence Collection Kits.

SART provides a safe and confidential network of services that focus on a victim’s needs and choices. Currently, SART offers Whitehorse-based victims a range of services that can support them after a sexual assault, including access to support workers, free legal advice, counselling and medical care provided by specially trained physicians. Additionally, SART operates a Yukon-wide confidential support line, staffed by trained professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, who can help victims access emotional, medical and legal support.

The expansion of SART to Yukon communities is a milestone in the implementation plan for Changing the Story to Upholding Dignity and Justice: Yukon’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit+ People Strategy. All governments have a role to play in implementing this work.

The What We Heard report on expanding Sexualized Assault Response Team services is about amplifying voices and addressing the need for support in rural Yukon communities. This comprehensive report represents our collective effort to ensure victims of sexualized assault receive timely and culturally sensitive support. By learning from the recommendations outlined in the report, including increasing awareness, enhancing cultural healing supports, and improving infrastructure, we aim to mitigate challenges and foster safer communities for all Yukoners.

Minister of Health and Social Services and Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee

I deeply appreciate the insights and recommendations from the What We Heard report, especially from victims who shared their experiences getting help. This report represents the voices of those affected by sexual violence in rural areas and shows progress towards better support systems. It is also a step forward in achieving our goals outlined in the Yukon's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit+ People Strategy. Our main aim is to make sure all victims of sexualized assault can access support confidently and respectfully.

Minister responsible for the Women and Gender Equity Directorate Jeanie McLean

Quick facts 
  • SART is a network of partner agencies, including the Government of Yukon’s Women and Gender Equity Directorate, Department of Justice and Department of Health and Social Services; the RCMP; the Public Prosecution Service of Canada; Yukon Hospital Corporation and the Yukon Women’s Transition Home.

  • SART first launched in 2020. It currently includes a 24-hour, confidential, toll-free, Yukon-wide support line for all victims and survivors of sexualized assault as well as Whitehorse-based services available to all Yukoners.

  • SART currently offers services for victims in Whitehorse, including counselling support, connecting victims with physicians who can provide post-assault medical advice or exam, connecting victims with RCMP to report an assault, and free legal advice. Victims can always choose which services they want to access.

  • Engagement for the SART expansion initiative was conducted throughout the Yukon from June to August 2023. Engagement with participants was grounded in trauma-informed and Community-Based Participatory Research (CBRP) principles which involves active participation of those whose lives are affected by the issues being studied.

  • SART expansion to communities is milestone three under objective 2.5.a. in the implementation plan for the Yukon’s MMIWG2S+ strategy.

  • Victims can confidentially contact SART at 1-844-967-7275 for support and guidance.


Work has begun to address previously identified issues, including a lack of awareness of what sexualized assault is and of the existing services to address it, transportation and access to training for services providers in communities. 

The Government of Yukon and SART partners will use the What We Heard report's insights and recommendations, along with key findings from the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Yukon’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two Spirit+ People Strategy, to guide the work to refine and extend services. Work has begun to address some items:

  • The Government of Yukon is reviewing the communications strategy for SART. So far, a campaign to raise awareness of sexualized assault and build a culture of consent and promote awareness of and increase access to resources for victims launched in the beginning of the year. The government's online resources are being evaluated to make them easier to access and ensure victims have the information they need to empower them to make informed choices about the care and services they are seeking. 
  • Options are being explored to reduce transportation barriers and enhance accessibility, including expanding financial support for transportation through agreements with transition homes in Watson Lake and Whitehorse, and possibly other community organizations. This will allow them to deliver funds to victims to cover travel costs such as gas, food and accommodation when accessing services or seeking safety from a perpetrator. The government's intention is to include the Dawson Women's shelter and for these agreements to continue for the next three years.
  • Funds have been added to the Victims of Crime Emergency Fund so that Victim Service Workers can help with urgent travel including food, gas or flights. 
  • SART training is available to service providers across the Yukon and addresses various needs, including cultural awareness and safety. 
  • Work has started with community health centres to increase the capacity for trauma and violence-informed responses. 
Media contact 

Laura Seeley
 Cabinet Communications

Jasmine Doll
Communications, Justice

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