The Jean Scott Transition House in Hope is offering a transportation service that will provide safe pick up and drop off for survivors of physical or sexual assault who need a forensic exam at the Abbotsford or Surrey hospitals where the exams are offered. (File photo)

B.C. society hopes ride program for assault victims will increase reporting

Service offered to Hope, Boston Bar, Agassiz, Harrison to combat intimidating lines and travel

The Jean Scott Transition House in Hope is adding a new Forensic Nursing Service that provides pickup and drop-off for survivors of physical or sexual assault who require forensic testing.

The service extends past Hope to Boston Bar, Agassiz, Harrison and surrounding communities, including Seabird Island and Sts’ailes Band. It aims to encourage reporting of gendered crimes by offering transportation to local medical care and forensic testing services in Abbotsford and Surrey, as well as ongoing emotional support and connection to needed services.

Forensic testing becomes critical if the reported assault is pursued in court.

“In cases where the identity of the assailant, the issue of what sex acts took place or the timing of the sex acts is in question, biological material recovered from the victim and crime scene can be extremely important,” reads the Government of Canada’s website on sexual assault.

Forensic recovery is an asset in cases of physical and domestic violence as well.

READ: Sexual assault policies take effect on B.C. campuses

In 2014, Statistics Canada reported that only one in 20 sexual assault incidents were reported to police, a number that had gone relatively unchanged since 2004.

The closest hospitals offering forensic testing are in Abbotsford and Surrey, and the distance, along with the intimidation of facing the process alone, could prevent reporting in the area, says house manager Jane Rhodes.

“The reason for this service is because some women were not wanting to report or go for those exams because of the horrendous way that they have to go about it,” she said.

READ: Stats show rise in domestic abuse incidents in Agassiz, Harrison area

Once an assault is reported, survivors require medical clearance before they can receive a forensic exam. The Jean Scott Transition House will escort women through this initial medical process and call ahead to ensure swift entry into a forensic exam at the hospital, providing emotional support throughout.

“If she wants us to sit in with her, we support her with that [and] if she wants us to wait in the waiting room, that’s really her call,” Rhodes said. “We stay with her through the whole process one way or another and then we transport her back to where she wants to go.

“We would go through a process of determining what she needs and then refer her accordingly. We’re trying to make it as smooth for her or him as possible.”

The Transition House allows survivors to recover and recuperate at its facilities in Hope and connects them with contacts and services to fit their needs following the assault.

Just Posted

Greyhound cleared to end routes in northern B.C., Vancouver Island

Company says nine routes have dropped 30% in ridership in last five years

BC Budget’s Top 10 promises the North Coast will care about

BC Ferry fare reductions, Indigenous language investments, rent support for seniors

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

Therapy dogs make appearance at B.C. Games

The St. John’s Ambulance therapy dog program launches a pilot project at the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Sticking the landing at the B.C. Games

Gymnasts talk competition, B.C. Winter Games, and teamwork in Kamloops

$153M in federal cash to fund child care, education training in B.C.

Bilateral agreement will create 1,370 new infant and toddler spaces

A B.C. woman talks her life in the sex trade

A view into the life from one Kelowna prostitute and the issues it can cause for women

Twitter feed prays for — instead of preying on — B.C. MLAs

Non-partisan Christian group wants to support politicians through personalized prayer

Mills Memorial Hospital financing formula released

Regional taxpayers to pay $113.7 million for new facility.

Hundreds march for justice in death of Winnipeg teen

Tina Fontaine was pulled from a river in 2014, her body wrapped in a blanket and weighed down by rocks

Most Read