Sexual Assault Protocol
The Kenora Sexual Assault Centre (KSAC) provides twenty-four hour (24) crisis intervention, emergency transportation, personal support, advocacy, practical assistance and safety planning (e.g. meals, transportation and emergency accommodation) to female victims/survivors of sexual assault in the Kenora District. KSAC operates a 24 hour local, and toll-free, crisis and support line. KSAC provides counselling, advocacy, support and information to female victims/survivors at the hospital and during police/court proceedings. KSAC also provides follow-up care, such as one-to-one and group counselling as well as referrals and accompaniment to related community services (e.g. housing, social assistance, child and family services) for female survivors of sexual assault in the Treaty #3 area.
In essence, KSAC provides both short and long term support and services to female victims/survivors of sexual violence, depending on their individual needs. KSAC offers ongoing support in all aspects of the healing and empowerment process. This includes the support services offered via KSAC’s 24 hour crisis line.
The Role of KSAC’s Crisis Counsellors
- Accompaniment and advocacy during visits to medical practitioners, police and other service providers.
- Providing emotional support and ensuring that victims/survivors are provided with any requisite information to make empowered and informed decisions throughout the process. This includes providing information regarding what to expect during medical, police and court proceedings. When required, KSAC’s Crisis Counsellors will also facilitate translation services via referrals to the Multicultural Association of Kenora and District.
- Arranging for Third Party Reporting in the event that a victim/survivor would like to report the assault anonymously.
- Providing crisis intervention such as normalizing a victim/survivor’s reactions and validating her feelings.
- Providing victims/survivors with practical assistance such as blankets, coffee, and access to the means to call friends or family.
- Providing information regarding KSAC’s services as well as information on, and referrals to, other organizations and access to traditional First Nations healing practices, such as support from Elders and cultural ceremonies.
- Assistance with safety planning, such as ensuring that victims/survivors have somewhere safe to go when leaving the hospital and providing transportation when needed.
Procedural guidelines for KSAC’s involvement
KSAC’s Crisis Counsellors can be contacted by any other service provider, including Emergency Room (ER) Nurses and Sexual Assault/Partner Abuse (SA/PA) Nurses, doctors or police at the client’s request. Victims/survivors can also contact the crisis line themselves to request assistance. KSAC’s services should be offered by whomever the first point of contact within the system is, be it police or medical personnel.
The following is the procedure for KSAC’s Crisis Counsellors attending the hospital to support victims/survivors:
- The ER or SA/PA Nurses will offer the services of KSAC’s Crisis Counsellors to the victim/survivor and, in the event she indicates via expressed consent that she would like their assistance, either call the Crisis Counsellor on behalf of the victim/survivor or provide her with the means to place the call herself.
- Upon arrival at the hospital, the Crisis Counsellor will provide the ER Nurse with identification to prove that she is indeed from KSAC. Following this, she will introduce herself to the victim/survivor and explain her role.
- The Crisis Counsellor will ensure that the woman is in the Emergency Department’s quiet room or another safe place within the department. Once the SA/PA Nurse is present, the Crisis Counsellor will assist with taking the victim/survivor to the SA/PA Treatment Room.
- Once the Crisis Counsellor and the victim/survivor are in a quiet location, the Crisis Counsellor will provide the victim/survivor with practical assistance (e.g. the means to make a phone call, coffee/tea, blankets) and provide crisis intervention support.
- The Crisis Counsellor will provide legal and medical information regarding the victim/survivor’s options and expected outcomes associated with specific choices.
- The Crisis Counsellor will ensure that the victim/survivor understands what the Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK) consists of and its purpose; explaining that she may choose any aspect of the treatment and can stop at any time. The Crisis Counsellor will offer to stay with the victim/survivor throughout her visit and ensure that the victim/survivor understands that she can change her mind and request that the Crisis Counsellor leaves at any time. She will also ensure that the victim/survivor is aware of her options other than the SAEK, such as a physical examination and testing for sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
- The Crisis Counsellor will assist the victim/survivor with finding a safe place to go and will arrange for transportation if needed. The Crisis Counsellor will also give the victim/survivor the crisis line number and brochure and encourage her to call. The Crisis Counsellor will offer a follow-up call within 24 hours and provide information regarding counselling/healing support services in the community.
- The Crisis Counsellor will also provide support and information to secondary victims/survivors (e.g., children, spouses, parents).