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Ottawa, ON: Sexual Violence Resources

Writer: Vedanshi

CW: Discussion of violence, harassment, abuse


Say someone is assaulted, or experiencing harassment or abuse. We’re going to share some available options for seeking support. When someone is assaulted, their choice is taken away from them. When deciding what kind of police action or medical support to seek, the choice is in the survivor’s hands, every step of the way.


If someone’s life is in danger, call 911 and ask for the police, fire, or ambulance depending on the situation.


If someone has been sexually assaulted, it was not their fault. They may not remember what exactly happened, and that is normal.


 

MEDICAL CARE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT SERVICES:


If a victim is hurt with life-threatening injuries, ask for an ambulance by calling 911. Even if they don’t have any apparent injuries, it is a good idea to go to the hospital and ask for a sexual assault kit to be performed- this is an examination performed to collect forensic evidence after an assault. If they think they may be pregnant, they can also ask the medical professional for options. They can also test the survivor for any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).


The Ottawa Hospital: Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP)



About: “The regional Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program (SAPACP) of The Ottawa Hospital, Civic Campus was established in 1994 and is a partner of the Ontario Provincial Network of SA/DV treatment centres.


The SAPACP is a team of specialized health professionals who are available on site, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  As a team we provide private and confidential trauma sensitive medical care to any person 16 years of age and older who has experienced sexual or intimate partner violence in our greater Ottawa region.


In addition to our acute 24/7 service we provide a comprehensive outpatient clinic.  Outpatient services are accessible by self-referral, referral by health professional and/or  our community partners.  Please fax referral to 613- 761-4985 or call 613-798-5555 x 13770 to book an appointment.


Together with our community partners, we work to meet the medical, emotional, social, forensic and legal needs of individuals who have suffered the consequences of sexual and/or intimate partner violence.”


 

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT:


Survivors may feel vulnerable, angry, confused, depressed, or another way after a sexual assault. There are mental health professionals who can help with the healing process, but more immediately, survivors may find comfort in your ‘Safe Buddies’. These can be trusted friends or family members.


ONTARIO 211 

Services for those who’ve experienced abuse or assault

About: A database of resources, which can be filtered based on region and service type. 


University of Ottawa Students’ Union Feminist Resource Centre 


About: “We advocate for gender equity across campus through campaigns, fundraisers, events, workshops and more! We provide an anti-oppressive, inclusive, non-judgmental, pro-choice, gender-positive, feminist welcoming space that supports community members (women, two-spirited folx, trans folx, non- binary/gender-conforming folx, and men) who want to work together to challenge gender oppression on campus and in our communities. We work on sexual and reproductive health, reproductive justice, menstrual equity, parenting, sexual violence prevention, support for survivors and any other type of work deemed relevant to the intersectionality of gender and other multiple coexisting identities.”


Our team sat down with the University of Ottawa Students’ Union Feminist Resource Centre team to learn more about the ways in which they support survivors. Watch the interview:



These are some of the services they provide (quoted directly from their website):

  • Free pregnancy tests

  • Free condoms and lube

  • Free menstrual products

  • Free diapers

  • Free baby formula

  • Free pre-natal vitamins

  • Free Drop-in Daycare

  • Feminist lending library

  • Feminist focused events, workshops, and fundraisers

  • Active Listening & Resource Referrals for support in:

  • Abortion

  • Adoption

  • Addiction

  • Birth-control

  • Childcare

  • Domestic Violence

  • Health Care

  • Housing

  • Mental Health

  • Parenting

  • Sexual Health

  • Sexual Violence

  • And many more!


 

CRISIS LINES


Salal Sexual Violence Support Centre

Website: salalsvsc.ca

National Toll-Free 24-Hour Crisis & Information Line: 1-877-392-7583

Salal Connect text: (604)-245-2425

About: Immediate emotional support is available Canada-wide.


Crisis Services Canada

Call: +1 (833) 456-4566

About: If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, the Canada Suicide Prevention Service is available 24/7.


Kids Help Phone

Call: +1 (800) 668-6868

About: 24/7, national support service offering professional counselling, information and referrals and text-based support to young people in both English and French.


Assaulted Women's Helpline:

Phone: 1-e866-863-0511 or TTY 1-866-863-7868

Website: www.awhl.org 

About: Information on services available in Ontario. The Assaulted Women's Helpline provides 24-hour, 7-days-a-week crisis counselling, emotional support, information and referrals to women in up to 154 languages.


 

SAFE SPACES


Cornerstone Housing for Women: Emergency Women’s Shelter

Phone: +1 (613) 254-6584

About: "At our emergency shelter we meet women where they are at, we provide essential needs such as nutritious food, personal care items and shelter. Nobody wants to experience homelessness. Women find themselves at our shelter for a variety of reasons including: inability to pay rent due to poverty, the need for disability modified housing, newcomer status, or fleeing violence or abuse. Our main goal for each of the women is to answer the question: “How can we help you find a safe place to live that you can afford?” Residents at the Women’s Shelter have a shared bedroom, along with washroom, dining and living rooms.”


Interval House of Ottawa

24/7 Crisis Line:  613-234-5181

About: “Interval House of Ottawa (IHO) provides safe shelter and support, intervention and prevention services, and advocacy to break the cycle of violence. Interval House of Ottawa works from an intersectional, feminist, and anti-oppressive approach to provide services for cis and trans women, two-spirit, non-binary and gender-diverse people alongside their dependents and pets.”


Safe Hubs by BOLT Safety Society

A network of safe spaces in partnership with local businesses. Find a safe space near you: boltsafety.org/safehubs


 

LEGAL + POLICE REPORTING / VICTIM SERVICES

Survivors have the choice to decide whether they want a police report filed and press charges against their assaulter(s).


Ottawa Police: File a report


Ottawa Police: Sexual Assault Survivor Guide

About: “This guide has been created to help you understand the legal processes that are associated with sexual assault and to offer a wide range of resources to support you throughout this difficult time. It is our duty to conduct a professional and thorough investigation. The Ottawa Police Service is here to assist and support survivors of sexual assault in a sensitive manner. Our goal is to identify, arrest and prosecute the person(s) responsible and to prevent further crimes from happening.”


Government of Ontario: Victim Witness Assistance Program

Victim Support Line: 416-314-2447

Call Toll-free: 1-888-579-2888

About: "The Victim/Witness Assistance Program is a court-based program that provides information, help and support to victims and witnesses of crime so they can understand and participate in the criminal court process. A victim/witness service worker will talk with you and assist you based on your specific case and needs."


COPYWRITING SERVICES FOR SURVIVORS


itsharpo collaborations offers copywriting services for survivors hoping to craft various forms of writing material. Their service can support survivors with their victim impact statements or writing out their appeals. To learn more and get in touch, visit their website at www.itsharpo.com


 

If someone is in an abusive relationship, there is help available. First of all, if anyone’s life is in immediate danger, call 911.


There are many forms of abuse. Specifically, domestic abuse, or intimate partner violence, is a form of abuse used by the abuser to maintain power in a relationship through verbal, emotional, mental, sexual, reproductive, financial, or physical abuse and coercion.


The survivor can find a ‘Safe Buddy’ to help them, and check-in on them regularly- be it, friends or family. This person can help alert authorities if they don’t respond to a check-in text, call, or email within a reasonable amount of time. They can also come up with a code word if there are concerns of their abuser reading their messages.


If the survivor is looking for support services online, and is concerned their abuser will see them, they can use ‘incognito’ web browser features, which ensure that searches and web activity cannot be tracked on that device.


Survivors can also reach out to local women’s shelters. 


 

If you’re worried about the safety of a loved one, how can you help?


If their life is in danger, call 911.


Otherwise, you can share resources and information, like this article. Be kind, understanding, and above all else, non-judgemental. Victims are often unaware they’re in an abusive relationship, or they depend on their abuser for things like a home, an allowance, or they are being gaslighted. Gaslighting is when the abuser denies ever being abusive when confronted about their actions and behaviour, and is a form of mental and emotional abuse. 


For the person you are trying to help, even though they may not immediately leave their relationship, you showing belief in their experience validates it, and may give them the strength and assurance needed to leave.


As an ally, you can also offer to go with them to the police, the hospital, to court, or be with them when they call a crisis line or shelter. When victims are isolated from their support networks, it, unfortunately, gives their abuser more power over them.


Believe them. Stand with them, no matter what they decide. Be an ally.


 

Know a resource that should be listed on our database?

Send us an email at info@boltsafety.org 

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