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

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message: Campbell River RCMP

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Comox Valley child gets dream vacation from Make-A-Wish Foundation

Elliot Hunter went to Disneyland and met Lightning McQueen

UPDATED: Two vehicles seen leaving bloody scene of Courtenay shooting

32-year-old victim in stable condition and known to police

Courtenay to host the BC Regionals FireFit Championships

‘Toughest two minutes in sports’ coming to the Comox Valley

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Most Read