A new partnership between Western and the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program of St. Joseph’s Health Care London will provide additional support on campus to students who have experienced sexual assault or domestic violence, with 24/7 services as needed.
“This complements the survivor supports Western has in place, in that we will add more specially trained, compassionate support after hours and on weekends, in an environment where survivors are most comfortable,” said Terry McQuaid, Western’s director of wellness and well-being and co-chair of the university’s gender-based and sexual violence action committee.
“The St. Joseph’s program has an outstanding reputation and we’re really pleased we can forge a partnership that builds on trauma-informed pathways for survivors of violence,” McQuaid said.
The St. Joseph’s team of specialized nurses, doctors and social workers provides care to people of any age, gender or sexual identity experiencing sexual assault and/or domestic violence.
Now, in addition to offering those services at the St. Joseph’s Hospital site, the team will make itself available – at no charge to clients – to come to campus as needed and requested, said Cassie Fisher, co-ordinator, medicine services with St. Joseph’s.
“Previously, a student who disclosed violence and was directed to the program would travel, often on their own, to our clinic – a location and environment that were foreign to them – sometimes only hours after the trauma occurred,” Fisher said.
“This agreement with Western allows the nurses to meet the students where they are, discuss options of care and support them back to the program if or when needed. The survivor knows that whatever care path they choose, they are not doing it alone.”
Available supports can include (at the client’s choice): emotional support and crisis intervention; physical examination; testing, prevention, and/or treatment of sexually transmitted infections; HIV prevention medication; testing and/or prevention of pregnancy due to sexual assault; documentation/photographs of injuries and forensic evidence collection; safety planning; and/or referrals as needed.
“Our hope is that this new model of care will support survivors to feel safer in disclosing and seeking the support and care they need,” Fisher said.
Western has in place a survivor-centric process to help people disclose violence, file a complaint and/or seek support; and a policy to address and prevent GBSV.
The partnership with St. Joseph’s is the latest in a series of commitments Western has made to address gender-based sexual violence (GBSV) including the establishment of an action committee on GBSV; new residence health and safety advisors, mandatory sexual violence awareness and prevention training for students in residence and on-campus security enhancements.
Pathways for connecting with help:
- Western’s case manager for gender-based violence and survivor support: call 519-661-3568 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Joseph’s Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program: 519-646-6100 x64224 at any time; or visit St. Joseph’s Hospital Urgent Care Centre and ask to speak to the nurse on-call for sexual assault/domestic violence.
- In an emergency, call 9-1-1 to connect with London police, fire or paramedic services