Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Commemorating the 35th Anniversary of the SA/DVCC at WCH
2019-04-09 3:57:05 PM
On Friday, April 12, Women’s College Hospital will commemorate the 35th anniversary of its Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre (SA/DVCC). The Centre’s anniversary coincides with Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and Women’s College Hospital Foundation takes this opportunity to recognize the ongoing critical need for the SA/DVCC’s services and to thank our donor community for helping to ensure this important program can continue to grow and evolve.
Opened in 1984, Women’s College Hospital’s Sexual Assault Care Centre (as it was then known) was the first of its kind in Ontario. The Centre was created in response to the lack of standards that existed at the time when it came to providing appropriate and compassionate care for victims of sexual assault. WCH recognized the critical gap in services for victims and survivors of gender-based violence and, with the support of the hospital’s generous donor community, established a pioneering clinic devoted to addressing this gap.
Today, the Centre offers around the clock, comprehensive services to survivors of violence. Operated and delivered by registered nurses, the Centre’s services include assessment and documentation of injuries and assault history; testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections; emergency contraceptive options; assessment of risk and safety planning; crisis support and counselling; referral to community services and more. The Centre has made significant contributions to gender-based violence services, including the development of standards of care for sexual assault survivors that are now used province-wide, including providing care within one hour of the patient presenting at a clinic or emergency department.
Currently, the Centre sees approximately 600 patients each year. Patients are ages 14 and up and approximately 95% are women.
The Centre’s manager, Sheila Macdonald, is the provincial director for Ontario’s Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres, which developed standards of care for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. The network provides leadership and support to 35 hospital-based centres across the province, including the SA/DVCC. The Network is also a leader in conducting research in the field, providing training for healthcare providers and organizations such as Toronto Police Service, advancing public education and standardization of services across the province, and building community partnerships to raise awareness and ensure that survivors are referred for care. Each year, the Network coordinates and provides training for sexual assault nurses across the province to continuously improve standards and care throughout Ontario.
The Centre now offers an online care package for survivors of violence that is readily accessible on their website. Learn more about the SADVCC here.
Women’s College Hospital Foundation extends its deepest gratitude to our community of compassionate, dedicated donors. It is because of your generosity that programs like the SA/DVCC can exist, grow and continue to impact the lives of women and their families long into the future.