Specialized care for sexual assault now available in Oxford
The Oxford County Community Health Centre is partnering with the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program of St. Joseph’s Health Care London to bring care closer to home.
May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month
Oxford County - In an innovative partnership, victims of sexual assault in Oxford County will be able to receive expert follow-up care close to home.
Considered the first agreement of its kind in the province, the Oxford County Community Health Centre (OCCHC) is collaborating with the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program (RSADVTP) of St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s) to provide specialized follow-up services for Oxford County residents who have experienced sexual assault.
The RSADVTP will provide consultation services to OCCHC on follow up care for patients seen at St. Joseph’s, as well as for Oxford County patients who may need care but did not come to London.
“This partnership addresses a long-standing barrier to care in Oxford County for those seeking support for sexual assault,” says Randy Peltz, Executive Director, OCCHC. “It means that the OCCHC can serve as an extension of selected services typically only provided at RSADVTP, including ongoing documentation and treatment of injuries, and testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infection.”
Follow-up care at OCCHC will be provided by OCCHC nurses, doctors and social workers, in consultation with RSADVTP.
St. Joseph’s is committed to partnerships that improve access to services and allow survivors to feel safe in disclosing and seeking the care they need, says Cassandra Fisher, Coordinator of the RSADVTP.
“Disclosing sexual assault or domestic violence is extremely difficult and often frightening. Anyone who comes into our program is offered to be followed medically, psychologically, emotionally and/or spiritually for six months post an assault. We want to ensure everyone is able to access this follow up care regardless of where they live. Forging partnerships with organizations like the OCCHC builds capacity in our region, allows trauma-informed, specialized care to be provided close to home where people feel the most safe, and opens another door to ensure survivors receive the support they need.”
The collaboration with St. Joseph’s will complement existing sexual assault services currently provided by Oxford Sexual Assault Services (OSAS) at the OCCHC, including risk management, case-management, counselling, psychotherapy and advocacy. OCCHC also currently provides survivors of sexual violence access to outreach, housing stability programming, rapid access addiction medicine, physiotherapy, primary care, nursing and other services.
The RSADVTP, located at St. Joseph’s Hospital in London, provides care in the region for women, children and men who have experienced sexual assault/sexual abuse and/or domestic violence. A team of specialized nurses, doctors and social workers are available 24/7 to provide numerous care options to individuals of all ages, sexual orientation or gender identity.
The RSADVTP is the only program in the region offering forensic evidence collection. Sexual assault nurse examiners at St. Joseph’s are specially trained above a nursing scope to provide forensic evidence collection and expertise as a witness in any case that goes to court. Oxford residents who choose the option of forensic evidence collection will need to be seen at the RSADVTP but can transfer to the OCCHC for their follow up care.
Historically, Oxford County residents who have experienced sexual assault have had to travel to London to access specialized services for sexual assault and domestic violence.
“Barriers around travel and transportation have prevented many from accessing the supports and care they require at a time of significant urgency,” explains Laura McCreery, Sexual Assault Therapist and Program Coordinator, OSAS at OCCHC. “Bringing services closer to home is an important step toward improving access for Oxford County residents. This innovative partnership with St. Joseph’s also serves as a potential model for other – often rural – communities across the province facing similar barriers.”
Fisher is hoping success of the partnership with OCCHC “is only the beginning of ensuring those who seek care for a sexual assault or domestic violence within the region are able to do so barrier free and in an environment that supports the individuals healing journey.”
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Laura McCreery, sexual assault therapist, Oxford Sexual Assault Services,
Oxford County Community Health Centre
@email, cell 226-232-6149
Dahlia Reich, Communication and Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Dahlia.email@example.com, 519 646-6100 ext. 65294, cell 519 619-0971, Pager 10117