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A message to our community

A message to our community

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

HSN is committed to treating and supporting all survivors of sexual assault with compassion, dignity and respect. We are also committed to working with our community partners to ensure seamless care for patients and survivors.

Patients presenting to HSN are provided care through our Emergency Department (ED) and Violence Intervention and Prevention Program (VIPP).  Like all other hospitals in Ontario with sexual assault or domestic violence treatment centres, we follow the Ontario Hospital Association’s (OHA) Hospital Guidelines for the Treatment of Persons Who Have Been Sexually Assaulted.

Survivors are asked to present to the Emergency Department to receive care and support from our clinical teams who receive mandatory training by the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centres. This training ensures the ED team can help provide immediate medical treatment and necessary interventions to support survivors and their families. The clinical teams help connect the survivor with resources and support including the VIPP program.

The VIPP program provides care from a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). The SANE is a nurse who is needed to administer a sexual assault evidence (SAEK) kit, as this requires specialized and extensive training.

HSN, just like all other hospitals, is experiencing staffing shortages. We are working to recruit more nursing staff to our team to care for survivors as quickly as possible. Survivors are not turned away and receive immediate medical care by the ED clinical team.  However, depending on staffing shortages, survivors could be asked to return within a timeframe that’s clinically recommended through the OHA guidelines.

We recognize this is not ideal for survivors and apologize for any stress this process causes.

As staff shortages are system wide, a provincial navigation line was created so survivors can also access additional support and find access to the nearest treatment centre in Ontario and the nearest available health care professional. This service can be accessed by calling 1-855-628-7238, or by visiting

We sincerely apologize to any sexual assault survivor who has come to HSN for help and was not satisfied with the care they received. We encourage individuals who have concerns to please reach out to our Patient Relations team to safely share their experience, allowing HSN the opportunity for review and follow up. Patient Relations can be contacted by email at or by calling 705-523-7100 ext 3737.