Skip to main content

'For a good cause': Triathlon raising funds for Victoria Sexual Assault Centre

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC) has seen an increase in women, trans and gender-diverse survivors seeking support after experiencing sexualized violence.

VSAC is here to help at no cost to clients, but now it’s looking for a little help as well.

"It’s going to be hard," said Diana Leigh, who is a reluctant bike rider.

Up until recently, it had been years since Leigh had hopped on her bike.

"But it's for a good cause," she said.

Leigh is preparing to complete the bike portion of the 30th annual Triathlon of Compassion, which benefits VSAC.

Leigh has knocked the dust off her trusty steed to ride 20 kilometres in this year's event.

"Biking 20-kilometres may be challenging, but what’s more difficult is experiencing sexualized violence," said the triathlon participant.

Diana Leigh is pictured traying for the triathlon. (CTV News)Carissa Ropponen, VSAC resource development and communications manager, says demand at the resource centre has increased over the past few years.

It's important work provided free of charge to survivors of sexualized violence.

"We see hundreds of clients every year and provide thousands of counselling sessions," said Ropponen.

"We provide counselling, we provide support through the criminal justice system, in reporting to police," she said.

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre also offers immediate crisis response.

"Within days of a sexual assault we can provide medical care, forensic evidence collection and emotional support here at our centre," said Ropponen.


VSAC has an annual operating budget of $2 million. Half of the centre's money comes from grants or fundraisers like the triathlon, and Leigh is passionate to pedal to help out.

"We are trying to raise $25,000 for survivor support services," said Ropponen.

That would fund 130 counselling sessions, 10 prevention workshops, and the operation of the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic for two weeks.

A counselling room at the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre is shown. (CTV News)Leigh knows the positive impact the centre has on those who have been impacted by sexualized violence.

"Because I work here," she said.

Hearing the stories has prompted her to get back on her bike and participate in her first ever triathlon.

"The mission and the values are healing, education and prevention," said Leigh. "That is what I’m racing and riding for, that is what is going to keep me going."

The Triathlon of Compassion takes place on June 25. To find out more information or how you can support the riders go to the Victoria Sexual Assault Centres website. Top Stories

ICC war crimes tribunal hobbles on despite hacking

The Netherlands-based International Criminal Court was operating on Thursday with disruptions to email, streaming and document-sharing after a hacking incident earlier in the week, sources and lawyers at the tribunal said.

Stay Connected