Sexual Assault Services
What is sexual assault?
Any sexual act performed against your will is a sexual assault. This includes penetration of the mouth and other body spaces. The greatest harm to a person who experiences sexual assault it the emotional pain of being forced to participate in an unwanted sexual activity.
Is sexual assault a very rare occurrence?
StatsCanada estimates that one of every four Canadians will experience sexual assault at least once. Females are more likely to be assaulted than males and young persons are at greater risk than more mature adults. In fact, approximately 80% of victims are under 30 years of age.
Do most victims have severe injuries?
No, most injuries are so minor that they require little or no medical attention. A victim should seek medical attention even if she or he is unaware of injuries. Sometimes injuries occur that may go unnoticed but they can be identified and recorded as part of the completion of a sexual assault examination kit. There are concerns for transmission of infection as well as injury.
That is why the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region has launched a specialized program to respond to the needs of these clients. Through the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Program, a team of specially trained forensic nurses provide emotional support and medical care for people who have experienced sexual assault, including those who have been assaulted by their spouses or partners.
What can I expect from the service?
Our service includes medical evaluation, treatment of injuries, protection against sexually transmitted infections and diseases, unplanned pregnancy, and collection of evidence.
Who can access this service?
We provide care for women and men aged 16 years of age and over. (Children under the age of 16 receive specialized care by the Child Abuse Team.)
Where is the service located?
It is located in two hospitals; the Regina General Hospital Emergency Department at 1440 – 14th Avenue in Regina, Sask; and the Pasqua Hospital Emergency Department at 4101 Dewdney Avenue, Regina, Sask.
No referral is necessary to access this service. Persons wanting to be seen may come to either Emergency Department. Once they have registered, the triage nurse will call a forensic nurse to come to the hospital and she will arrive within one hour.
What should I do before I go to the hospital?
Do not take the time to change clothes. Do not eat, drink or smoke, as these activities could eliminate evidence. Do not use the washroom if possible. If you cannot wait to empty your bladder, avoid wiping or pat gently afterward. If you are at home, bring a change of clothing with you to the hospital.
What will happen at the hospital?
Emergency doctors and nurses know the assault was not your fault. When you speak to the triage nurse, explain simply that you have experienced a sexual assault or ask to see a forensic nurse. You do not have to report details to the triage nurse. You will be provided privacy and safety immediately. An emergency nurse will ask you a few questions about your health. Then the nurse will call a forensic nurse who will care for you under the direction of a physician. The forensic nurse will respond to any questions or concerns you may have.
If you want to have someone present for support, a friend or family member may sit with you. If you prefer, we will arrange for a specially trained volunteer to remain with you throughout your time in Emergency.
You will be offered choices about your care and will not be rushed into any decisions. These choices include medical care, the extent of examination, and the decision to report to police. Your choices will be respected.
What about the police?
If you are 18 years of age or over, we will not call the police without your permission. You will be treated medically and assessed for injuries. You will be given the care which you request.
If you choose not to report to police, the nurse will provide all care and will examine you for injuries and will record them as part of your chart. Even if you do not report to police at the time you are in Emergency, there will be a confidential record of your visit and what injuries you had.
If you choose to report the assault to the police, a nurse will use a sexual assault examination kit to record your statements and collect evidence. Evidence may include some items of your clothing and samples of biological material on your body. The police will take a statement from you.
How will I feel after a sexual assault?
Sexual assault is a traumatic experience. Emotionally, you may experience fear, shame and embarrassment, eating and sleep disorders, nightmares, mood swings, depression, withdrawal from friends and family and even suicidal thoughts.
Physically, you may experience abdominal pain, irritable bowel symptoms, pelvic pain, gynecological problems, headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain or other physical effects from injuries during the assault.
In some cases, people who commit a sexual assault may use drugs or alcohol to decrease resistance to assault and to cause memory loss of the assault. If you believe you have been assaulted but do not have a clear memory of it, the nurse examiner will offer to collect samples of blood and urine for further testing.
Are there any support services for survivors?
Yes, you can contact the following:
Regina Women’s Centre and Sexual Assault Line: 306-352-0434
Regina Police Service: 306-777-6500
RCMP “F” Division: 306-780-5461
Does this program provide any other services?
Yes, SANE nurses have training in all aspects of sexual violence. Arrangements can be made for speakers for service groups and classrooms on topics such as:
- Sexual Assault Prevention
- Domestic or Intimate Partner Violence
- Risk Factors for Sexual Violence
- Violence as a Public Health Issue
- Elder Abuse
To arrange a speaker phone 306-766-6486 or email Stephanie.Carlson@rqhealth.ca.