There are mounting worries that Canada’s severely understaffed nursing, forensics, and judicial systems are having an impact on the country’s sexual assault victims, depriving many survivors of timely care and justice.
Advocates have called on the government at all levels to address the issue as sexual assault rates in the nation continue to rise in a number of regions in recent days. Advocates say that the government should invest in community-based care outside of hospital settings in addition to access to particularly trained units, as this can be a barrier to receiving much-needed care following a sexual assault.
The informal community-based organizations are finding it difficult to keep up with the increase in demand for their services, according to Erin Whitmore, executive director of the Ending Violence Association of Canada. She said that there are gaps not only in the legal and health care systems.
A lack of sexual assault nurse examiners has been noted across the nation, including Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Newfoundland and Labrador, as Canada’s healthcare sector continues to struggle with a labour crisis.
Forensic nurses with special training in collecting evidence from sexual assault victims and assisting them in overcoming trauma are known as sexual assault nurse examiners. In court, they can be asked to provide testimony.
Beyond health care, sexual assault victims in Canada face a lot of obstacles and difficulties when trying to get justice, according to campaigners. However, the federal government denies the claims, stating that it is filling its role in ensuring that both people accused of and accused of sexual assault receive speedy and accessible justice.