Niagara Health’s Sexual Assault Domestic Violence treatment program is an important service for the Niagara community, and we are fully committed to providing the best possible care to our patients. Our staff who work in this program go through specific training to become certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.
Our program is located in dedicated space at the St. Catharines Site. Patients are first seen by an Emergency Department Physician or Nurse Practitioner, and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner provides additional treatment. Unfortunately, we have had longstanding staffing pressures that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, resulting in times when we are unable to provide this service on a 24/7 basis.
A member of the ED team caring for the patient would then discuss options available. This includes travelling to a hospital in Hamilton or Burlington to see a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, with follow-up care in Niagara. Any decisions are made in consultation with, and with the consent of, the patient. Niagara Health covers the cost of third-party transportation when this is required.
We are very sorry for the difficulties these ongoing staffing pressures are causing.
We are actively working to recruit nurses to this program and looking at expanding the service to a region-wide mobile response model.