Victims can now avoid the financial and emotional burden of having to travel to Vancouver Island for additional care related to their sexual assault.
The service was developed with community service partners, dedicated local health professionals and Island Health to improve care by providing Forensic Nurse specialist consultation and services.
“This is a wonderful example of a service enhancement brought about by a community committed to removing barriers through collaboration and open discussion," said Health Minister Terry Lake.
Services include physical examination, preventative medical services and evidence collection. These services are subject to the victim’s preference. In addition to providing the necessary medical services, hospital staff will have protocols in place that link survivors and their families to other services they may want to access to support social and emotional recovery.
“A sexual assault is a very emotional and traumatizing experience,” said Alice Gelpke, Island Health’s Executive Director for Cowichan, Saanich Peninsula and Southern Gulf Islands. “Forensic Nurse Examiners provide an important service that is confidential, non-judgmental and culturally safe to meet the patient’s specific needs.”
Children under age 13 will continue to be treated by pediatric specialists at Victoria General Hospital.
“We are pleased to be able to work with community partners to establish local access to the sexual assault nurse examiner service,” said Shannon Dames, for Island Health’s Forensic Nurse Examiner Program.
Island Health would like to take this opportunity to thank the Province of BC for providing grant money to support this collaboration, and especially the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation for providing the educational funding for this specialized training and ongoing support.
For more information: www.viha.ca/assault-violence/forensic_nursing.
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