The Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care and Treatment Program
In 1990, Headwaters Health Care Centre was designated as a Sexual Assault Care Centre. This Program was then expanded to include domestic violence in 1997. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care provides annual operating funding to run this Program.
This Program is one of a group of 35 hospital-based victim care centres in Ontario. At each centre, a team of specialized health professionals is available 24 hours a day to provide medical and emotional care to women, men and children who have experienced sexual assault or domestic violence.
Individuals who have been assaulted by an intimate partner or who have been sexually assaulted or abused should go directly to the emergency department of their nearest treatment centre. A specially trained nurse examiner will be called to the hospital to provide care that includes crisis support, treatment of any physical injuries and medication for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. If the person chooses to proceed with legal action, the nurse will collect and record physical evidence. If the person isn’t sure about involving the authorities, the evidence can be stored at the centre. Issues regarding personal safety, especially in cases of domestic violence, can also be addressed at this time.
The physical and emotional effects of sexual assault and domestic violence can be long-lasting, therefore, the centre with also provide individuals with additional and ongoing support as needed. This may include individual counselling and/or referrals to community agencies.
The Sunrise Centre
The Sunrise Centre is the name given to the physical location of the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care and Treatment Program here at Headwaters Health Care Centre.
The Sunrise Centre has its own entrance to ensure privacy, it has an examination/treatment room that provides a non-clinical environment with a bathroom and shower, and it also has a separate interview room with recording and video equipment to record a statement, if appropriate.
Individuals who have been assaulted by an intimate partner or who have been sexually assaulted or abused can attend with their support person and/or children, be examined, treated, and if they wish provide a video statement to police in a quiet, non-threatening environment. This Centre was designed in consultation with local police and community groups.