Sexual Assault / Domestic Violence Treatment Centre

If you require emergency medical assistance, please call 911 (in Thunder Bay and where available in Northwestern Ontario).

For all questions including assistance after an assault, call (807) 684-6751.

It is important to realize that you are NOT to blame.

The Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre (SA/DVTC) is an individualized service available to victims and survivors of sexual assault and/or domestic violence. The program provides emergency medical and psycho-social treatment as well as follow-up care, by specially-trained nurses.

The care that we provide is totally patient-centred and focuses on choices made by the victim/survivor. We are not here to tell you what you should do. We are here to support you and help you do what you know is best for your personal situation.

Domestic violence and sexual assault victims who come to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre for treatment will be registered as Emergency Department patients and provided care with a minimum of delay, by a duty nursing/medical staff and the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Nurse (SA/DV).

Services are also available for anyone in Northwestern Ontario by calling (807) 684-6751. For emergency treatment, please contact your local emergency services or hospital emergency department.

What to Expect

At the Emergency Department

The initial Emergency Department care will be provided only with the patient’s informed consent.
You may consent to some, all, or none of the care options.  If you decline to consent to any of the options, you will not be denied medical treatment for the assault. You may withdraw your consent to any of the options at any time during your visit. This initial care may include all or part of the following:

  • Treatment of injuries
  • Treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and possible post-assault pregnancy (with your permission, we can offer pregnancy prevention (morning after pill), antibiotics to prevent gonorrhea and Chlamydia infections, medications to reduce the chance of HIV infection, immunizations for Hepatitis B or Tetanus if needed)
  • Baseline and follow up testing (with your permission, we can provide baseline testing for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV, sexually transmitted infections; we will also provide follow up testing at one, three and six months following the assault )
  • Reassurance and emotional support
  • Collection of forensic evidence including photographs (with your permission, the nurse may collect evidence pertaining to the assault such as clothing or swabs for DNA evidence left behind by the perpetrator.  If you are undecided about having the police involved, we can freeze your evidence kit for up to six months while you make your decision.)
  • Risk assessment and safety planning
  • Referral for medical follow-up
  • Referral to social worker
  • Police involvement (with your permission, we can help you to make the call to request police assistance.  We will also support a decision NOT to involve police if that is your choice.)
  • Referral to shelter and/or other relevant community resources

During Optional Follow-Up

Follow-up is available. Should that choice be made, contact will be by the SA/DVTC follow-up nurse, and may include:

  • Reassessment of injuries
  • Further consideration of safety
  • Continuing treatment and monitoring of STI’s
  • Further photographs
  • Appropriate referral(s)

What You Should Know

Sexual assault and /or domestic violence are traumatic events and can be disruptive to your life. If you have been assaulted, you may:

  • Have trouble eating, sleeping and concentrating
  • Feel anxious about sexual matters
  • Feel isolated, helpless and angry, as well as fearful and out of control
  • Experience guilt, but you are NOT to blame
  • Be worried about how your parents, spouse, and friends will react to your experience

The Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre (SA/DVTC) can help with medical and counselling services. These services are fully confidential, and we only provide the help and support you need. Police involvement is totally voluntary as well, except in certain specific cases.

Our only concern is to ensure you have the help and support you need, when you need it most.

It helps to talk to people. Call (807) 684-6751 to talk to one of our specially trained nurses about any questions you have about our services or your particular situation. We can also help if you have concerns about friend or loved one involved in a relationship where abuse is occurring.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any form of sexual activity with another person without their consent.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is abuse by an intimate partner, and may include physical assault, and emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse. It can include threats to harm children, other family members, pets and property. The violence is used to intimidate, humiliate or frighten, or to make you powerless. Domestic violence may include a single act of abuse. It may also include a number of acts that may appear minor or trivial when viewed alone, but collectively form a pattern that amounts to abuse.

Is your partner…

  • Calling you names, putting you down, insulting you, ridiculing or isolating you?
  • Slapping, punching, kicking or biting you?
  • Threatening to harm you, the children, your pets or belongings?
  • Threatening you with a weapon?
  • Threatening suicide?
  • Forcing you to have sex or withholding affection as a punishment?
  • Not allowing you to work?
  • Not allowing you access to family income, forcing you to beg for money, giving you an allowance, withholding money, and not providing the necessities of life?

Both Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence are criminal acts.

Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre is a program of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and is affiliated with the Ontario Network for Sexual Assault.

Call us at (807) 684-6751 to talk to one of our specially trained nurses.


How to Hide Your Internet Activities

We care about your safety.
Firefox has the ‘New Private Window’ option from the orange ‘Firefox’ dropdown menu button at the top of the browser Ctrl+Shift+P;

Google Chrome has the ‘New incognito window’ option from the menu button at the right of the address bar (universal three horizontal lines icon) Ctrl+Shift+N;

Internet Explorer 8 and above has the ‘InPrivate Browsing’ option from the ‘Safety’ dropdown menu on the right Ctrl+Shift+P;

Safari 5 incognito browsing can be accomplished by entering ‘Private Browsing’ mode via the ‘Action’ menu;

Opera 10.6 allows you to enable incognito browsing in your choice of a new tab or new window. Depending on your preference, the private tab or window can be accessed via the browser’s Tabs and Windows menu or through a keyboard shortcut.

This page lists all the browsers and how to access the Private Browsing features in each:

Are you worried that someone might find out you visited this website?
The Internet is a great resource for finding information that can help you make decisions about your personal situation. However, it’s important to understand that the record of your Internet activities does not disappear when you close your browser. If the person who is abusing you is good on a computer, it may not be safe for you to be visiting sites for abused women unless you take precautions to hide your Internet activities.

These precautions include the following steps to help you remove your Internet history if you are concerned that the person abusing you could check up on your Internet activities:

  • Visit websites from a place other than your home, such as the public library, school, an Internet café, or your workplace.
  • Delete cookies and clear your browser history (your cache). Cookies are a way for websites to track their visitors and their actions. They do this by storing small bits of information on your computer. Sometimes this means that the site will “remember” you when you visit again. For example, if you enter your name when you go to a website, it may display your name when you visit again. See below to learn how to delete cookies from your computer:

To Delete Cookies from Your Computer

If you are using Internet Explorer:
1. From the “Tools” menu at the top of the screen, click “Internet Options”
2. Click the “General” tab in the small pop-up screen that appears
3. From the “Temporary Internet Files” section, click the button “Delete Files”
4. From the “History Section”, click the button “Clear History”
5. Click “OK”

List of Community Services

Ontario Network of Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Treatment Centres
Information for both professionals and victims including role of the network, its mandate, centres across Ontario, HIV post-exposure prophylaxis, adult sexual assault, pediatric sexual assault, domestic violence. Has extensive resource links.

Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres
A network for rape crisis/sexual assault centres in Ontario. Has resources for survivors of sexual assault and links to support.

Neighbourhoods, Friends, and Families
Provincial campaign to raise awareness about woman abuse. Available in English and French. Reviews how to identify and help women who are abused, how to talk to male abusers, and safety planning for abused women.

Superior North Victim Safety Project -Stop Violence Against Women

Assaulted Women’s Helpline
Provides 24-hour telephone and TTY crisis line. Anonymous and confidential crisis counselling, emotional support, and safety planning.

Ontario Women’s Directorate
Provides resources, information and public education to assist women experiencing violence.

Thunder Bay and Area Victim Services

VCARS is a community-based service assisting police and emergency services in providing short-term emotional support and practical assistance to victims of crime and tragedy.  Community volunteers support victims to meet their immediate needs and supply referral to existing community service if longer term care is required.

VQRP provides emergency expenses – for eligible victims, to secure premises for victim safety, and provide emergency care for dependents, transportation costs, or specialized crime scene cleanup services in the immediate aftermath of violent crime. Counselling – to help victims of serious crimes recover from their experience.

Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Education on Sexual Health

Resources for Parents

The following list of resources is provided to assist in your search for information regarding child sexual assault/abuse. The information is not meant to take the place of professional medical or legal advice. It is not intended to be a replacement for professional counselling where such is indicated. We have included resources that we, The Sexual Assault Domestic Violence Treatment Centre (SADVTC) have reviewed as well as resources recommended by other professionals. Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre does not control nor bear responsibility for the content contained on the websites.
Resources for Parents

Family Violence in Canada
from the Department of Justice Canada

Children and Sexual Assault/Abuse
Understanding Child Sexual Abuse: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers

Kid’s Help Phone: Sexual Abuse

Stop It Now: Together We Can Prevent The Sexual Abuse of Children

Ontario Network of Sexual Assault Domestic Violence
Treatment Centres

Boost: Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention
Dedicated to prevention of child abuse and violence through awareness and education Providing services in the Toronto area; see under ‘Resources” for Information sheets.

Canadian Centre for Child Protection
A charitable organization whose goal is to reduce child victimization and provide service to Canadians; also operates the programs below:
See Parent’s Section = What All Parents Should Know
What to Teach Your Child
Choosing A Child Safe Organization
A campaign initiated in Manitoba to address sexual exploitation and raise awareness about children who are exploited through the sex trade; see Safety Strategies – specific fact sheets on personal safety and healthy child development for various age groups.
Canada’s National tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children.

Resources on Sexual Abuse
Interactive safety education program for increasing personal safety of children and reducing their risk of victimization online and in the real world, kindergarten to highschool.
Geared towards teens to teach how to be safe, responsible and respectful users of texting technologies.

Sexual Abuse – What Happens When You Tell: A Guide For Children

Sexual Abuse – Counselling A Guide for Parents and Children…

Sibling Sexual Abuse: A Guide for Parents

When Boys Have Been Sexually Abused: A Guide for Young Boys

When Girls Have Been Sexually Abused: A Guide For Young Girls

When Teenage Girls Have Been Sexually Abused: A Guide for Teenagers

When Teenage Boys Have Been Sexually Abused: A Guide for Teenagers

When Children Act Out Sexually: A Guide for Parents and Teachers

Resources for Youth

Kids Help Phone
24-hour, bilingual, and anonymous counselling.

Love Is Respect: The National Dating Abuse Hotline

Empowering Youth to End Domestic Violence

MTV sexting, cyberbullying, digital dating abuse campaign

Scarleteen: Sex Education for the Real World
“Where’s Your Digital Line?” and See It and Stop It!

Love Is Not Abuse

Teen Advice
Advice on love, sex, dating, your body, school, and money


Services for Victims of Crime (Ministry of Attorney General)

Lists all the programs and support centres that the Ontario government provides for victims of crime, such as domestic violence, sexual assault and others.

Includes – Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) Provides information, assistance and support to victims and witnesses of crime throughout the criminal justice process in order to increase their understanding of, and participation in, the criminal justice process. Offered by the Ontario Victim Services Secretariat, VWAP services include crisis intervention, needs assessment, referrals to community agencies, emotional support, case specific information (court dates, bail conditions) and court preparation and orientation.

Community Legal Information Ontario
Do You Know a Woman Who is Being Abused – A Legal Rights Handbook

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
Information on how to receive compensation if you have been a victim of crime such as sexual assault or domestic violence.

Family Law Education for Women
Legal information for women under Ontario family law.  Available in 14 languages including French. Also addresses specific communities such as Aboriginal, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, domestic immigrant women, women with disabilities.


Male Survivors
Support for men who have been sexually abused or assaulted.

Male Survivor
For boys and men who have been victims of sexual assault. Online support and information.

The Men’s Project
The Men’s Project is committed to assisting and supporting the development of provincial services for male victims of childhood sexual abuse and recent sexual assault. Open to straight, gay, and bisexual males.

Available 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday at 1-877-677-6532.
1 in 6 Organization

An online web service geared to support men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood.

Public Health Agency of Canada
Gives information including statistics, consequences, prevention and interventions and some general referral information for men who have been in or are currently in abusive relationships.

When Males Have Been Sexually Abused as Children: A Guide for Men


Community Support services to families including housing, counselling, and healing programs.

Ontario Native Women’s Association
Community Wellness Program – Assists Indigenous families experiencing family violence by working one on one to develop an action plan for identified concerns, providing victim service referrals, and offering Indigenous Culture based healing programs.

Thunder Bay Indian Friendship Centre
Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy – Offers counselling and support to victims of family violence, links to emergency services, community referrals, culture specific programs and groups

I Am a Kind Man
Seeks to engage the men of Indigenous communities to speak out against all forms of abuse towards Indigenous women. Their goal is to provide education for men to address issues of abuse against women; to re-establish traditional responsibilities by acknowledging that our teachings have never tolerated violence and abuse towards women; to inspire men to engage other men to get involved and stop the abuse; and to support Indigenous men who choose not to use violence.

Indigenous Sexual Health
Aim is to advance culturally safe health and healing for Indigenous women through education, partnerships and community initiatives, and leadership and advocacy.

Taking Care of Each Others Spirits
Addresses woman abuse in Indigenous communities in Ontario.  Information on warning signs of abuse, safety planning, shelters etc. within the context of indigenous beliefs.


Faye Peterson Transition House
Offers 24-hour crisis line and counsellors, shelter for women and children, confidential individual and group counselling, information and referrals, court advocacy, safety planning and follow up services.

Native Women’s Crisis Home and Counselling  Services – Offers shelter to women and children, individual and group counselling, transitional housing and support, children’s programming, drug and alcohol addictions program.


Thunder Bay Sexual Assault Sexual Abuse Crisis Counselling  Centre
Provides Crisis Intervention (telephone/mobile response 365 days/year); counselling (up to one year); client advocacy including information, accompaniment, and preparation through the criminal justice system; assistance with Criminal Injury Compensation claims; and Victim Impact Statements.

Thunder Bay Counselling Centre
Thunder Bay Counselling Centre – formerly Family Services Thunder Bay, offers confidential counselling solutions that are responsive to the needs and life challenges of people living in Thunder Bay. The goal is to empower individuals, couples and families so that they may lead confident lives in a strong and healthy community.

Catholic Family Development Centre
Provides non-denominational individual, couple and family counselling, Support groups for women in abusive relationships, counselling for adult survivors of child sexual abuse, parenting programs

Children’s Centre Thunder Bay
The Children’s Centre – Thunder Bay is a children’s mental health centre. They provide mental health services and support services to troubled children, adolescents and their families.

Kid’s Help Phone
Toll-free, 24-hour, bilingual and anonymous phone counselling, referral, and Internet service for children and youth. Provides immediate, caring support to young people in urban and rural communities across the country.

St. Joseph’s Care Group – Anger Management
A course offered to assist participants to learn to manage and express their anger more effectively.
See the Yellow Pages of the phone book for additional counsellors listed under ‘”Marriage, Family and Individual Counsellors”.


Le Centre des Femmes Francophons du Nord-Ouest de l’Ontario (CFFNOO) est un organisme d’aide et de lutte contre les agressions à caractère sexuel (CALACS).  Sa mission est de travailler pour mettre fin à toutes les formes de violence faite aux femmes et de revendiquer le respect des droits et la multiplication des choix qui s’offrent aux femmes, en poursuivant ses buts de:

  1. Transmettre des services en français essentiels aux femmes (et à leurs enfants);
  2. Offrir une diversité de programmes d’aide et d’appui, selon les besoins des femmes francophones;
  3. Développer et maintenir des partenariats locaux, régionaux et provinciaux pertinents à son mandat;
  4. Promouvoir la prévention de la violence faite aux femmes et aux enfants;
  5. Faciliter l’accessibilité à des services et programmes en français pour les femmes francophones des régions plus éloignées du Nord-Ouest de l’Ontario.

The Centre des Femmes Francophones du Nord-Ouest de l’Ontario (CFFNOO) is a non-profit community organization offering services in French to francophone women 16 years and older in the area of violence against women. They offer a diversity of programs and support as needed to French-speaking women and their children.

In Thunder Bay: 807-684-1955
In Geraldton: 807-854-9021
Toll free: 1-888-415-4156

Brochures (available online)

Common Questions About the Effects of Trauma

Recognizing the Effects of Abuse Related Trauma

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Caring For A Friend Or Family Member Following Sexual Assault

Domestic Violence: Be Prepared “Just in Case”

Caring For Yourself When A Friend Or Family Member Has Been Sexually Assaulted


When Your Partner Was Sexually Abused as a Child
Information about child abuse and how it affects trust, power, intimacy, and sexuality in adulthood, helping you understand how your partner can recover from child abuse, and help you get support too.