Support Groups

SACOMSS’ Support Groups program provides a safe space for ongoing healing and empowerment of survivors of the English-speaking Montreal community. Meetings are confidential and free-of-charge. Three to ten members meet weekly with two trained co-facilitators, in a physically accessible, confidential location near McGill’s downtown campus.

Since participation is open-ended, you are never forced to attend a set number of sessions. Each group will develop its own guidelines to protect everyone’s emotional safety and maintain respect for one another. From week to week, members determine the direction of discussion. You will never be judged. Through sharing, listening, and encouragement, you will both give and receive emotional support.

Training runs annually every September/October and sometimes in January/February. Fell free to contact us at supportgroups@sacomss.org for details about our next training.

Who are the Facilitators?

The facilitators are trained volunteers that come from a number of backgrounds. All have made a special commitment to working with survivors. Facilitators provide continuity within the ever-changing groups. They work to ensure everyone has the chance to speak. They protect the emotional safety of the group. They provide resources to members.

All facilitators have participated in at least 40 hours of training by SACOMSS. This provides the facilitators with the skills and the experience to manage conflicts and group dynamics. More importantly, facilitators have learned to listen actively, and to acknowledge issues about identity and sensitivity that may arise from discussion.

Facilitators are trained volunteers, not trained psychotherapists or counsellors.

Joining a Support Group

  1. Contact Us – The first step is to contact SACOMSS where volunteers will be able to give some fundamental answers about our services. If you want to join a group, the volunteer will ask for a phone number or email address. If you’re already aware of the groups we offer and feel ready to join, you can get in touch with Support Groups directly at supportgroups@sacomss.org.
  2. Meeting the Facilitator – Once SACOMSS receives your name and contact information, the facilitators for your group will contact you to arrange to meet you. At this meeting, the facilitators will answer your questions, give you the basic information for the group, and discuss your participation in the group.
  3. Invitation of Referral – If the facilitators feel that the support group would not be a good fit, you will be referred to a more suitable service. Otherwise, the facilitators will be in touch with you within the week to give you the meeting place and time.
  4. Groups Offered – SACOMSS groups are open to survivors of all genders, experiences, ages, sexual orientations, ethnicities, abilities and backgrounds. New groups form based on a convenient meeting time for all of the current survivors participating. Additionally, SACOMSS offers support groups for partners, family, and friends of survivors of sexual assault.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Do I have to be a McGill student to join a support group?
A: No. In fact we encourage people from the greater Montreal community as well as McGill students to join support groups.

Q: How old do I need to be to join a group?
A: We require you to be at least 18 years of age.

Q: Do I need to pay to join a group?
A: No. All SACOMSS’ services are provided free-of-charge.

Q: How often do support groups run?
A: The groups meet once a week for two hours.

Q: What types of support groups do you offer?
A: We offer supports groups for survivors of sexual assault as well as for their partners, families, and friends.

Q: Where do the groups meet?
A: The locations are kept confidential. They are disclosed after you have met with the facilitators and decide to join group. Often times group runs somewhere in the downtown Montreal area.

Q: What days do the groups meet?
A: The day and time will be disclosed once you have met with the facilitators and have decided to join group.

Q: Are there any groups offered in French?
A: Unfortunately, not at the moment. We are looking into that possibility for future groups.

Q: I am interested in a joining a group. How do I do that?
A: Please call us at (514) 398-8500, or email us at supportgroups@sacomss.org.

Q: I am interested in facilitating a support group. How do I become involved in SACOMSS?
A: We run training for Support Groups every Fall or Winter season. If you are interested, please call us at (514) 398-8500 or e-mail us at supportgroups@sacomss.org.

Q: Do you have any information about other support groups offered in the Montreal area?
A: Please call us at (514) 398-8500 to be pointed in the right direction.

Contact Us
3480 McTavish, B-27
Montreal, QC H3A 1X9
(514) 398-8500
supportgroups@sacomss.org