The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre remains open 24/7 amid the COVID-19 outbreak. (Victoria Sexual Assault Centre)

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre remains open 24/7 amid the COVID-19 outbreak. (Victoria Sexual Assault Centre)

Victoria Sexual Assault Centre remains open for survivors through COVID-19 pandemic

Times of crisis can lead to increase in domestic violence, board of director member says

The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (VSAC), which operates a multi-service clinic for survivors, remains open 24/7 amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Our commitment to our clients, colleagues, and communities that we serve is of the highest priority,” said VSAC executive director Elijah Zimmerman in a written statement on March 17.

VSAC has taken precautions to protect staff, volunteers and survivors from COVID-19 by doubling down on cleaning, shifting some care to the phone and closing the office to drop-ins, Zimmerman said.

READ ALSO: More than 400 COVID-19 cases, 10 deaths in B.C.

Grace Lore, a political science professor at the University of Victoria, has worked with the VSAC clinic for years and now serves on the board of directors.

VSAC’s clinic model is one of a kind in Canada and will continue to provide trauma-informed care to sexual assault survivors through the COVID-19 pandemic, she said. “The care folks need in the aftermath is still available.”

The clinic helps survivors outside the hospitals – unless it’s necessary – and police stations which is especially important now as hospitals focus on patients with COVID-19, Lore explained.

She emphasized the importance of spreading the word about VSAC remaining open so that survivors of sexual assault in the Capital Regional District know that help is just a phone call away even during the pandemic. Times of economic downturn and societal stress often lead to an increase in domestic violence which is why VSAC needs to remain open, Lore said.

READ ALSO: Court shutdown could threaten safe confinement and fair trials: B.C. defence lawyer

Folks seeking care can call the Vancouver Island Crisis Line at 1-888-494-3888 and they will page the Sexual Assault Response Team who are working 24/7, she explained.

While many services are remote for now, the immediate care is still available in person without needing to go to the hospital or the police station, Lore said.

For those assaulted in the last seven days, VSAC is able to provide medical care, assessments by forensic nurses, police reporting, medication for sexually transmitted diseases and any other assistance required in a quiet, calm, confidential, trauma-informed manner, she explained. Anyone who’s been assaulted in the last 30 days can access support and counselling over the phone.

READ ALSO: ‘Different than anything we’ve ever seen’: How B.C. paramedics are responding to COVID-19

Lore pointed out that survivors should call even if they’re in quarantine, self-isolating or have COVID-19 as someone will walk them through the process and find a way to provide care safely.

VSAC is located at 201-3060 Cedar Hill Road and can be reached at the service line at 250-383-3232 or through the Vancouver Island Crisis Line at 1-888-494-3888.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

ClinicsCoronavirussexual assault

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

Just Posted

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
Oak Bay local Lachlan Kratz (red, middle) has signed with pro rugby team NOLO Gold in Louisiana. (Contributed photo)
Oak Bay local signs with pro rugby team

Lachlan Kratz at 21 is now NOLO Gold’s youngest member

A micro brewery is being eyed for Jordan River. However, the site where the brewery is proposed still needs to go through the rezoning process. (Black Press Media file)
Micro brewery proposed for Jordan River

Jordan River Brewing Company envisions to build wholesale, sit-in brewery along Highway 14

Traffic waits at the intersection of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue. A study found failing levels of service at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sidney’s Beacon Avenue for multiple movements during morning peak traffic and for all left-moving traffic during afternoon peak traffic. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Province supports potential interim improvements to Sidney intersection

Province says interchange is the long-term plan for intersection of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read