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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: Why are mobile lab workers not getting hazard pay?

A Pitt Meadows essential service worker questions why she and coworkers are not being compensated

PHOTOS: Maple Ridge Cubs conduct porch-based food drive

A Scouting from Home effort sees kids collecting non-perishables for the Friends In Need Food Bank

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

LETTER: Hear your postie’s plea about dogs

When a canine bites, it’s seldom the animal but rather the owner at fault

Gifted tablet help connect patients with loved-ones

Amid COVID, Ridge Meadows Hospital continues to receive a variety of different kinds of donations

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

Most Read