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

Logging truck starts forest fire north of Nakusp

Traffic reduced to single-lane alternating as crews battle blaze

Smoke-free summer a boon for West Kootenay tourism

Tourism centres seeing numbers up

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Black Press Kootenay Career Fair underway in Cranbrook

Today, Thursday, August 22, around 40 employers will be waiting to meet potential new employees

Cannings to pedal through South Okanagan — West Kootenay riding

MP leaves from Nakusp on Aug. 23 and ends in Kaleden on Aug. 29.

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Most Read