Project Description

Sexual Assault & Abuse

We offer services for women who have recently experienced sexual assault and/or historical sexual assault/abuse.

Sexual Assault is any sexual contact without consent, including sexual contact by a woman’s intimate partner. Sexual assault includes:

  • unwanted kissing, fondling, oral sex, vaginal or anal intercourse, raping with an object, forcing a person to touch someone’s genitals, threats of physical harm to her or someone else if she refuses sexual demands
  • There may be no intercourse, yet you are abused. During the sexual activity he took control over what happened to you and your body. Taking control over someone is the basis of all abuse. If you felt confused, scared, helpless, sad and/or angry the sexual activity was abusive or if you are struggling with self blame from past abuses, please give us a call.

Recent sexual assault services:

  • 24 hour crisis response, including accompaniment to hospital and or/police station
  • Priority counselling with the Sexual Assault/Abuse Therapist
  • Accompaniment and support for court

A woman may report a recent sexual assault to the hospital, police or directly to Haldimand & Norfolk Women’s Services. The hospital, police or the woman herself may call and request a support person from Haldimand & Norfolk Women’s Services to meet the woman at the hospital or police station. If the woman’s clothes are being kept as evidence, the support person will provide her with a new set of clothing.

Historical Sexual Assault/Abuse Services:

  • Ongoing individual counselling
  • Group counselling when available
  • Accompaniment and support for court

A woman who has had any type of unwanted sexual experience in her life may receive counselling from Haldimand & Norfolk Women’s Services. A women calling to request counselling will be asked to provide some information including why she is interested in counselling. Haldimand & Norfolk Women’s Services will then attempt to ensure she receives the most appropriate services for her needs.

  • All counselling services are free.
  • Short and longer term counselling is available

The Sexual Assault/Abuse program is committed to increasing community awareness of sexual assault/abuse by providing presentations, workshops and consultation to other organizations and service providers.

WE ADVOCATE FOR YOU!

Guidelines For Responding to Sexual Assault

Definition of Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault is any sexual contact without consent, including sexual contact by a woman’s intimate partner. It is estimated that one in four Canadian women will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime. Sexual assault includes unwanted kissing, fondling, oral sex, vaginal or anal intercourse, raping with an object, forcing a person to touch someone’s genitals, threats of physical harm to her or someone else if she refuses sexual demands.

Consent is voluntarily agreeing to engage in sexual activity. Under Canadian law, there is no consent when:

  • it is given by someone other than the woman herself
  • she is incapable of consenting, i.e. impaired by alcohol or drugs or cognitive incapacity
  • the accused uses their position of trust, power, or authority
  • she says “no”, by her words or behaviour, i.e. “I don’t feel like it”, crying, her words or actions show that she does not want to continue to engage in sexual activity, ie. “I don’t want to go any further”, moving away from the person, etc..

Suggestions For Service Providers Initial Contact

  • Identify yourself and your role; give her your business card and/or badge number
  • Ask if you can talk to her about the situation
  • Assure her that you understand that this is difficult for her

Create a safe, private, and comfortable environment that facilitates communication by:

  • offering her a support person of her choice
  • placing yourself at eye level
  • keeping your voice calm and quiet
  • respecting her personal space
  • where needed and available, offering an interpreter, referrals and material in her own language

Let her control the intervention wherever possible:

  • do not touch her unless invited
  • find out where she would be comfortable speaking with you
  • allow her to take breaks when needed

Explain to her what will happen with the information she gives you, for example:

Believe her. Be careful about your preconceived ideas about a woman’s reactions. Everyone reacts differently to an assault. Some women may have seemingly no response

Validate and normalize her reactions and feelings

Outline her choices, giving realistic and accurate information about the possible implications of each choice

  • information/records that may be used in court
  • rights and limitations of confidentiality as required by your organization, reporting to supervisor, reporting to Children’s Aid Society

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