Sexual Assault Treatment Centre

The North Bay Regional Health Centre’s Emergency Department offers the following emergency services to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence:

  • Timely response – nurses on-call respond in a timely manner
  • A confidential, sensitive, non-heterosexist approach
  • Information on options available to survivors
  • Evidence collection for police if the survivor chooses
  • Preservation of evidence for up to 3 months
  • Assessment and documentation of injuries
  • Treatment to prevent pregnancy (Morning after pill)
  • HIV post exposure prophylaxis (only available within 72 hours of sexual assault)
  • Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and Drug facilitated sexual assault
  • Short term safety planning
  • Referral to appropriate community agencies

When and how should I access the services?

Come to the North Bay Regional Health Centre’s Emergency Department within 12 days of the sexual assault, or while injuries are still visible in cases of domestic violence. The sooner you can get here, the more helpful it is for you.

What if 12 days have elapsed since the assault?

If you were sexually assaulted more that 12 days ago, we strongly encourage you to seek medical attention from a Sexual Health Clinic or your family physician for testing and treatment for STI’s.  You still have the option to report to police.  We encourage you to access counseling services provided by professionals.

What should I bring with me and how can I prepare for this service?

Bring your health card. You should not shower, bath, urinate or change clothes since evidence may be lost. Also, if you aren’t wearing the same clothes as worn during the assault, bring them with you, or ensure they are readily available in case you want to proceed with a police report.  You can bring a friend to wait with you in the designated waiting area.

What happens to me when I arrive at the Emergency Department?

Upon arrival, you will be registered, and then a triage nurse will determine what your immediate needs are. If you report a sexual assault, and have no urgent or life-threatening injuries, a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner will be paged immediately. The Nurse Examiner will see you within one hour, and often much sooner.

What does the Nurse Examiner do?

The Nurse Examiner is here for you only. She stays with you throughout the assessment, treatment and discharge phases of your care.  She then offers you three options relating to police reporting:

  • Collect evidence and report assault immediately to police
  • Collect evidence for storage up to 3 months in case you decide later to report to police
  • Medical treatment, no evidence, and don’t report to police

No matter which option you choose, the Nurse Examiner provides quality health care and useful information to you.

The Nurse Examiner takes a health history, examines you from head to toe, and provides medication to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.  In addition, she offers medications to prevent Hepatitis B to those who aren’t already immunized and post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV (the virus which causes AIDS).  Testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections is also provided, and counseling is offered in relation to the range of possible reactions to sexual assault. Finally, the Nurse Examiner also ensures you are discharged to a safe place.

What is a sexual assault kit?

A sexual assault kit is used to collect evidence from your person.

The kit itself is a special sealed box containing swabs, envelopes, bottles, combs and other items used to collect evidence. Evidence is collected from these main areas:

  • Clothing
  • Mouth
  • Genital and anal area
  • Remainder of body

The most useful evidence is collected within 24 hours of assault. Evidence includes clothes, saliva, blood, urine, hair and photographs of injuries. You can consent to the collection of any or all of these things.

Nurse examiners have the skills required to collect the evidence for police in a sensitive and respectful way. They will explain what to expect during evidence collection, and will discuss with you the possibilities of either giving the kit immediately to police, or having the kit confidentially stored for 3 months in case you decide later that you want to report to police.

Choosing not to proceed with the kit will not compromise the health care you receive in any way. Choosing to proceed with the kit does not mean your case will automatically be reported to police; that is your choice. Finally, you do not have to have the kit in order to have police involvement.

Is the service confidential?

Yes. Confidentiality means that information about you is shared only with hospital staff who are directly involved with your care, and no one else, without your consent. If you do want to share information with others, you will be asked to sign a consent form.

There are exceptional circumstances in which confidentiality cannot be assured. These include:

  • Abuse of children (person under age 16) or children in need of protection
  • Criminal investigation – subpoena for court of law
  • Danger of serious injury to self or others
  • Positive sexually transmitted infection (only the result is reported to Public Health Sexual Health program – not the details of the assault)

What if I would rather see my regular health care provider?

Health care providers outside hospital emergency setting generally do not collect forensic evidence for police.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s)

There is a slight chance that you could get a sexually transmitted disease if you have been sexually assaulted. A doctor or nurse will be able to tell you if you are at risk and know how to help you. They can give you medication to prevent a sexually transmitted infection from occurring.

They will also be concerned about how you feel about what happened. They may advise that you talk with a counselor about your feelings. That will be up to you.

They will ask you to follow-up with your health care provider after the assault to make sure that you are alright. If you choose not to let your family doctor know about the assault, they can refer you to another health care provider.

HIV

If you are concerned about HIV, this is something you can talk about with a nurse, doctor or other health care provider.

If there is reason to believe that you could be at risk, there is medication that might help prevent HIV/AIDS. Your doctor will know if this would be a choice for you to think about.

Pregnancy

The concern of becoming pregnant can be a big worry after a sexual assault. You may want to talk to a health care provider about the chance of getting pregnant, and get information about the choices you have. A health care provider at the Sexual Assault Treatment Program at the North Bay Regional Health Centre or our Public Health Unit.  You can talk with you about these issues.

There is medication called the Emergency Contraception Pill, also known as the “Morning After Pill” that is effective in preventing a pregnancy. The medication must be taken within five days (120 hours) following the assault. If taken within five days, this pill can slow down or stop the release of an egg and may prevent the fertilized egg from growing. It is safe for most women to take.

Pediatric Sexual Assault

What is Pediatric Sexual Assault?

Any sexual activity involving a child (persons under age 16) that could be a violation of the Criminal Code and could render a child in need of protection.

It includes:

  • Acts of exposure
  • Sexual touching
  • Oral, anal or vaginal penetration
  • Inappropriate sexual language
  • Sexual harassment
  • Exposing a child to or involving a child in pornography or prostitution

Services provided in a confidential setting may include:

  • Specialized nursing/pediatrician care for victims of acute assault up to 3 days (72 hrs) 24/7 days a week
  • Booked appointment for children of historic, chronic or suspected abuse
Sexual Assault Treatment Centre

contact us:

Please contact the Department of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence for further information:

705-474-8600 ex. 4478

Resources:

North Bay

50 College Drive,
P.O. Box 2500
North Bay, ON
P1B 5A4
Tel: 705.474.8600

Sudbury

680 Kirkwood Drive,
Sudbury, ON
P3E 1X3
Tel: 705.675.9193
Fax: 705.675.6817

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