The origins of support work for women who have experienced sexual violence date back to the early days of the women’s movement beginning in the 1960s. As the feminist movement was rising, autonomous groups launched shelters for women and children who were experiencing domestic violence, as well as women’s centres and sexual violence support and prevention centres.
This is the context into which the first CALACS was born, in 1975. The Centre d’aide aux victimes d’agression sexuelle de Lanaudière et des Laurentides (CAVAS-LL) was incorporated in May 1986. At the time, it was associated with the Mitan, a shelter in Sainte-Thérèse for women who were victims of domestic violence.
In 1993, CAVAS-LL changed its name to CALACS-Laurentides, clarified its objectives, changed its operating approach and joined the Regroupement québécois des CALACS. At the same time, demand arose for the creation of a CALACS in the Lanaudière region. The next year, women from the Hautes-Laurentides region, concerned about the inaccessibility of services, took steps to obtain funding to develop activities in the more northern part of the Laurentides.
Following the demands made at the World March of Women in 2000 and the recommendations of the Regroupement québécois des CALACS, the needs of the Hautes-Laurentides were recognized, and Élan-CALACS was created. CALACS-Laurentides, for its part, focused its activities on the six regional county municipalities (RCMs) south of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts. In January 2003, CALACS-Laurentides purchased a property and set up its new facilities.
After having experimented with setting up points of service, and following various internal challenges, CALACS completed a review of its operating approach. Since 2016, CALACS-Laurentides has been undergoing an organizational restructuring process that includes several ongoing elements. In 2019, the organization changed its identity to become CALACS L’Ancrage.