Remember: you are not alone and you are not to blame. The Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Treatment Program is a regional service that provides immediate, confidential, and individualized treatment to females or males in Niagara who have recently been sexually assaulted or are victims of intimate partner abuse.
Following a sexual assault, it is important to receive preventive treatment against sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), and possible pregnancy. This service is located at the St. Catharines Emergency Department.
Clients reporting to any emergency department in the Niagara Region, when medically stable, will be transferred to St. Catharines for assistance from specially-trained SA/DV nurses and caring physicians.
Counselling is recommended to all clients who are recent victims (within two years) of sexual assault or domestic violence. Requests and referrals are accepted through our office at 905-378-4647 ext. 45300.
Immediate treatment and follow up counselling for victims/survivors of:
Counselling is available to all clients who are recent victims (within 2 years) of sexual assault or domestic violence.
Sexual Assault is any form of unwanted sexual activity including fondling, touching, and/or penetration that is forced upon another person without that person’s consent. Rape is no longer the legal term in Canada because it does not include all the forms of sexual violence. Both women and men can be sexually assaulted, even in a marriage or in a dating situation.
Consent is an active choice and the voluntary agreement of two adults to engage in sexual activity. Someone who is under the influence of medication, drugs/alcohol is not in a position to give consent.
The law states that a child is not in a position to give consent to sexual activity. Child sexual abuse occurs when a child is used for sexual purposes by an adult or adolescent. It involves exposing a child to any sexual activity or behaviour. Examples include where a child is encouraged, coerced, forced or enticed into such acts as sexual molestation, fondling, sexual intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, exhibitionism, or any form of sexual exploitation such as juvenile prostitution or pornography. Age of Protection (Consent) Law In effect May 1, 2008
The young person may have sexual contact with a person who is within 2 YEARS of their age, provided:
The young person may have sexual contact with a person who is within 5 YEARS of their age, provided:
The young person aged 14 or 15 years may have sexual contact with an older person to whom they are legally married.
The young person may have sexual contact with any person, provided:
When the young person is under 16 years of age and the alleged abuser is a person in a care-giving role; or
When the young person is under 16 years of age and the alleged abuser is in a role of authority or trust.
Domestic Violence / Intimate Partner Abuse is a crime. It results from an imbalance of power and control over one’s partner. Domestic violence is primarily committed by men against women but also occurs in same-sex relationships and by women against men.
All survivors are not physically battered or beaten. Abuse can include other forms of mistreatment and cruelty such as constant threatening, psychological / emotional, sexual, financial / material, spiritual and verbal abuse. In the event of a sexual assault within the domestic situation a client has the same options as any other person who has a complaint of sexual assault. Partner abuse happens to many people at all income and education levels, in all social classes, in all religions, racial and cultural groups.
You should get help as soon as possible at the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Program, Niagara. For sexual assault, it is important to get treatment within 12 days. As a result of the assault/abuse, you may:
If you wish to pursue legal action, a Sexual Assault Examination Kit can be completed by the SA/DV nurse. The kit is the collection of evidence from your body and clothing worn during or immediately after the assault. This evidence can only be collected if the assault occurred within the last 12 days or within the last 72 hours if you are under 13 years of age.
You should not shower, bathe, urinate or change clothes since evidence may be lost.
For cases of domestic violence, photographs and body diagrams can be used to document injuries. If your clothing is damaged it can also be saved as evidence. Treatment is available within 12 days of the assault as injuries may be present.
(within 12 days of the assault)
If you were sexually assaulted more than 12 days ago, we strongly encourage you to seek medical attention from a Sexual Health Clinic or your family physician, for testing and treatment of STIs. You still have the option of reporting the incident to the police. We encourage you to access our counselling services provided by professional SA/DV therapists. This can be arranged by calling the office at 905-378-4647 ext 45300.
The incidence of sexual assault in which drugs have been slipped into a person’s drink is on the rise.
Individuals may react differently depending on the substance used, the dose given, the presence of alcohol and their sensitivity to the drug. If you feel dizzy, confused or have other unexplained symptoms after drinking a beverage, get to a safe place immediately by calling a family member, friend, police or 911.
If you have such reactions, go directly to the nearest hospital emergency department to receive medical help. Request a urine test to detect the presence of drugs as soon as possible, as evidence disappears within hours.
Determine whether or not you want to report the incident to the police. The sexual assault can be reported immediately or at a later date. You should not shower, bathe, urinate or change clothes since evidence may be lost. Physical evidence of assault should be collected within 3 days.
Most of the time, the medical exam does not prove whether or not abuse happened. The exam makes sure that if your child has injuries or other medical conditions, that these conditions are treated.
Many forms of abuse do not result in medical evidence. Sometimes, healing has occurred. Sometimes there were no injuries. In some cases, findings support abuse but do not prove abuse.
The most important reason for this visit is to make sure your child is physically well. It is important to remember that an exam with a “normal” result does not mean that abuse did not occur.
Our staff at SA/DV are experienced in working with children, even under these difficult circumstances.
The exam will not be forced on your child. In most cases, you as the child’s parent or caregiver, will be in the exam room. It is helpful if you support your child and answer any questions or address any concerns he or she may have.
We recommend that you tell your child that he or she will see a doctor. Do not stress that the exam is related to possible abuse as this may cause further upset.
Your child may be watching you. If you seem nervous, he or she may get nervous.
The doctor may need to do a blood test. Please do not tell your child that there will be “no shots”. If you did tell your child this, let the staff know.
Stay calm. Your child needs to feel your strength and sense of security. Let him or her know that what happened isn’t his or her fault.
Believe your child. Support your child’s decision to tell. Assure your child that you will protect him or her.
Return to your normal family routines. This includes doing chores and using appropriate discipline.
Keep a journal. Write down what your child says and document any different behaviour. Include dates and times.
Do not ask your child questions about what happened or about the investigation.
Contact the SA/DV with questions or concerns. Let the Case Coordinator, police, FACS worker, or child’s therapist know if your child has behaviours that worry you. These could include changes in appetite, changes in sleeping patterns, depression, fear, withdrawal, or acting out at home or school.
After a sexual assault, you may feel completely alone and isolated. You may be wondering why this happened to you. It may also feel like no one can understand what you are going through. These reactions are normal. You may feel alone after a sexual assault because the offender is someone you know and trusted. Although we usually think of sexual assault being committed by strangers, we actually face the greatest risk from people known to us.
Many people who have experienced a sexual assault feel alone because they keep it a secret.
Here are some of the reasons why victims of sexual assault may not want to tell:
Guys may have some specific concerns:
Unfortunately, even though sexual assault is done to the survivor, it is common for the survivor to feel somehow responsible. So, if you feel any responsibility you are in good company with most survivors. However, this needs to be challenged. Why should you walk around with guilt and other such bad feelings unnecessarily? Think about this…what would you say to a child who was abused by a coach…surely you would say it was the coach’s fault - not the child’s. So, try to tell yourself the same thing. But in order to be able to reassure yourself that it was not your fault, you need to look at and correct the faulty blame thoughts you may have. One important thing to remember is that the offence was done TO you, not BY you. This is a simple idea but easily forgotten.
It is important to remember that although this may be an extremely difficult time, it is possible to heal and to overcome this turmoil with the help and support of others. The length of the healing process cannot be predicted and is different for everyone. There is no specific length of time that it takes to heal. Healing does come. We have come to learn that with the help of a skilled, empathetic counselor, it is possible to move through the impact of the assault. It is possible to explore and express the emotional impact that the assault has had.