Getting Help

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If you have been sexually assaulted or have experienced violence within the past seven days, you may require Forensic Nursing Services at one of our hospitals.

If it has been over seven days and you would like to speak with someone about options, support and/or medical care, please contact the Embrace Clinic. There are also many other local resources are available to you.

Forensic nurses can help you if:

You have experienced (or think you have experienced) sexual or violence within the past seven days. This includes:

  • unwanted sexual touching by anyone (partner, friend, stranger, etc).
  • rape (vaginal, oral and/or anal).
  • physical violence (such as hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, etc) from someone you know such as a partner or friend or a stranger.
  • waking up and not knowing what has happened to you.

Depending on what happened you might:

  • have injuries that need to be assessed (like a head injury, broken bone or a bad cut).
  • be at risk of getting pregnant.
  • be at risk of getting a sexually transmitted infection or HIV.

Before getting to the hospital

If you can, try to do the following:

  • Do not pee (if you have to, collect it in a clean container and bring it with you, write down what time you collected it).
  • Do not have a poop.
  • Do not eat or drink anything.
  • Do not shower or take a bath.
  • Do not douche or wash your genitals.
  • Do not change you clothes.
  • Do not brush your teeth, floss, chew gum, or brush your hair.

It's ok if you have done any or all of the above. It's still important to come in.

Getting to a hospital

If you require our nurses to examine you, visit the Emergency Department at either Surrey Memorial Hospital or Abbotsford Regional Hospital. These hospitals have forensic nurses on-call 24/7 to help you.

If you cannot get to either of these hospitals, go to your nearest Emergency Department.

When you get to the hospital, you will be offered choices about police involvement.

Arriving at the hospital

Tell the nurse what has happened and you will be assessed to be sure you are okay. After we know you are okay, you can choose to see a Forensic Nurse Examiner. Sometimes the Emergency Department social worker or other support workers will meet with you.

There is a team of people ready to help you.

Choices at the hospital

You have three options:

Your health care is always a priority for the Forensic Nurse Examiner. Everything that happens at the hospital is your choice. You can say “No” to any part of the following. 

The forensic nurse examiner will meet with you alone and go through these options with you. You will be given time to think about it and to ask questions. The forensic nurse examiner will ask about health issues and your safety first.

1. Health care (no evidence collection of evidence)

The Forensic Nurse Examiner will discuss and may offer you:

Depending on your condition, you might be seen by the Emergency Department doctor.

2. Health care and collection of forensic samples for report to the police

Your health care is always a priority for the Forensic Nurse Examiner. Everything that happens at the hospital is your choice. You can say “No” to any part of the following.

If you choose to report to police the Forensic Nurse Examiner or the SMART support worker can help you.

The Forensic Nurse Examiner will discuss and may offer you:

  • A head to toe medical exam with collection of forensic samples which might include:
    • Blood and urine samples.
    • Swabs from various areas of your body.
    • Photographs of injuries.
    • Collection of clothing.
  • A head to toe exam with a special light to help highlight areas that may have evidence.
  • Emergency Contraception (“Plan B,” “morning after pill”) if you are at risk of pregnancy.
  • Medications to help prevent Chlamydia and Gonorrhea (two sexually transmitted infections caused by bacteria).
  • Immunizations for Hepatitis B and or Tetanus.
  • Medications to help prevent HIV.
  • Other treatment or medications as needed.

    Depending on your condition, you might be seen by the Emergency Department doctor.

    All the evidence collected will be handed directly to police and a medical-legal report will be written by the Forensic Nurse Examiner and provided to the police.

    3. Health care and collection of forensic samples for storage for up to one year

    Your health care is always a priority for the Forensic Nurse Examiner. Everything that happens at the hospital is your choice. You can say “No” to any part of the following.

    With this option, you are choosing not to report to police right away but are asking to have forensic samples collected and stored for up to one year. After one year, the medical legal document will still be available.

    You can report to police at any time, however, the forensic samples will only be available for up to one year. If you choose to report to police the Forensic Nurse Examiner or the SMART support worker can help you do this.

    The Forensic Nurse Examiner will discuss and may offer you:

    • A head to toe medical exam with collection of forensic samples which might include:
      • Blood and urine samples.
      • Swabs from various areas of your body.
      • Photographs of injuries.
    • A head to toe exam with a special light to help highlight areas that may have evidence.
    • Emergency Contraception (“Plan B,” “morning after pill”) if you are at risk of pregnancy.
    • Medications to help prevent Chlamydia and Gonorrhea (two sexually transmitted infections caused by bacteria).
    • Immunizations for Hepatitis B and or Tetanus.
    • Medications to help prevent HIV.
    • Other treatment or medications as needed.

    Depending on your condition, you might be seen by the Emergency Department doctor.

    All of the forensic samples collected will be stored for up to one year and a medical-legal report will be written by the Forensic Nurse Examiner. If you decide to report to police, this evidence and the medical-legal report will be given to them.

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