Sex workers, especially those living in the Metro Vancouver area.
Community Counselling Fund
What This Grantee Is Doing for Community Counselling
PACE Society is a peer-driven society by, with, and for sex workers, that seeks to reduce harm and isolation associated with sex work through education, support, and advocacy. PACE Society provides evidence-based therapeutic counselling services for current and former sex workers of all genders from a collaborative, harm reduction, trauma-informed, sex positive, and rights-based approach. Their counselling services are specifically designed to address the social stigma faced by sex workers, as well as people who use drugs, in an accessible peer-driven, harm reduction, and destigmatized setting.
PACE's counsellors meet with members one-on-one to provide client-directed counselling and support, drawing on a wide variety of therapeutic tools to address interrelated social determinants of mental health, such as substance use, trauma, violence, or family issues. In alignment with their organizational commitment to harm reduction, PACE's counsellors support sex workers to reduce emotional, social and physical harm by developing individualized strategies for safer working and living environments. Where appropriate, referrals to their peer support team can support sex workers in addressing ancillary needs (e.g. housing, education, or legal issues).
"The biggest impact is being able to provide ongoing access to free counselling that is specific to sex workers' needs, where our members do not have to worry or fear that they will be judged due to their chosen profession, and instead be respected and affirmed throughout the counselling process. Being able to provide sexual assault and crisis response services that are specific to sex workers’ unique needs has been similarly impactful, where their work will not be questioned, so clients can access support and explore their options without fear of being victim blamed or shamed. This is significant for our clients, but also for the field of mental health because it demonstrates a destigmatizing path forward for clinicians who work with sex workers and a step towards righting some of the historical wrongs perpetuated by health care and mental health professions against sex workers."