February 17th, 2017 marks the first anniversary of the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic. It was one year ago today that the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre opened the doors to a new, confidential, accessible and welcoming facility that offers recent survivors of sexual assault access to medical and forensic care, options for reporting and support all in one centralized location. This clinic is the first and only one of its kind in British Columbia.
With the enthusiastic collaboration from our community partners including Island Health, the dedicated team of forensic nurse examiners, local police and the Victoria Child Abuse Prevention and Counselling Centre, as well as the generous support of individual donors and the Ministry of Justice, United Way, the City of Victoria, and the Zonta Club of Victoria, the clinic was made a reality.
Every survivor deserves access to services, and to have their choices on what healing looks like for them supported. By shifting key services for recent survivors of sexual assault from the hospital and police stations, the clinic is breaking down barriers, streamlining the process and providing individualized care for survivors of all genders.
Research shows that when a survivor receives compassionate support during the initial response, it has a significant impact on their healing. Since opening the clinic, the demand for these services from recent survivors has increased by 80%. What this means is that more people are getting support in the crucial time that they need it. And for us, this is, without question, a success.
More encouraging changes from the clinic so far:
- Survivors who accessed the clinic have expressed feeling welcomed and safe
- Reduced wait times
- Reduced total time of emergency response and service delivery – on average 1.5hrs, previously it was 3hrs.
- More survivors feel comfortable to bring family and friends with them for support
- Other communities are reaching out to us with the desire to start their own clinics
I’m so grateful that we were able to open this clinic – and I’ve never been more certain that this was the right decision. There are so many reasons a person may not want to access services at a hospital, and I feel that holding a quiet, alternative space where survivors can go to access whatever care they need helps to eliminate a lot of these barriers. This is a big deal for a lot of people, and I wish a clinic like this were available in every community.
~ Alexa Robin, VSAC’s Trans Inclusion Coordinator
Clinic waiting room
Reception for the clinic
Spacious hallway with a small kitchen with coffee, tea, and food
Private space in the clinic to meet with a support worker
Exam room at the clinic that includes a private washroom
One of the police interview room if the survivor chooses to report. It is not a requirement to report to police to use any of the services at the clinic.
The clinic a positive and welcoming space
How to access the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic?
The clinic is available 24hrs a day, seven days a week to recent survivors of sexual assault of all genders, 13 years and older. The best way to access clinic services is to call the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre’s Crisis and Information Line at 250-383-3232. From there, the caller will connect with a support worker to go over their options and how to access the clinic.
- Services of the clinic are free
- The facility is wheelchair accessible
- We provide taxis to and from the clinic as well as the hospital if the survivor requires.
- The clinic is survivor-led. Survivors are in control of their choices, whether it is choosing what medical care to have, whether or not to report to police* or accessing ongoing counselling.
*Please note, if there is a child protection issue, the clinic may have to involve either the police and/or the Ministry of Children and Families
Where is the clinic located?
The clinic is housed in the Victoria Community Response Centre (300B-3060 Cedar Hill Rd). It is a shared space with the Victoria Child Abuse Prevention & Counselling Centre’s Victoria Child and Youth Advocacy Centre. The clinic is in the same building the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (3060 Cedar Hill Rd).
How can I support the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic?
- Help spread the word – we want people to know that these services are available! Contact us if you would like us to send you some pamphlets to have at your place of work.
- Volunteer on our Sexual Assault Response Team – the next training will not be until later in the year, but you can contact our Coordinator of Volunteers to let us know you are interested.
- Make a donation – we rely on donations to keep the doors of the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic open. You can make a donation online to support the clinic!
We feel incredibly grateful for all of the positive feedback and generosity we have experienced that made this clinic available in the community. Thank you to everyone for your support.Donate Today!