The WSN Mandate
The Women’s Support Network of York Region (WSN) is a rape crisis/sexual violence centre dedicated to providing free, confidential services for individuals who have experienced any form of sexual violence. WSN is committed to a grassroots, Feminist, Anti-Racist and Anti-Oppressive framework. Our goal is to eradicate sexual violence.
- 24-hour crisis support on our crisis line
- Sexual Violence Counselling
- Anti – Human Trafficking Case Management
- Public Education and Outreach Programs
- Support Groups and Workshops
- Advocacy and Support
- Community based training
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you have experienced a sexual assault you can visit the Emergency Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault (DASA) unit at Mackenzie Health. When checking in at the Emergency Department of Mackenzie Health, inform the attendant you wish to see a DASA nurse. You can also call the hospital at 905-883-1212 ext. 0 and ask for the DASA nurse on call to be contacted for you; and/or book an appointment for non-emergency services.
If you prefer to visit a hospital outside of York Region, the Scarborough Health Network has a Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre at 3 hospials; Toronto General Hospital (416-438-2911), Centenary Hospital (416-284-8131) and Birchmount Hospital (416-495-2400). To access services, kindly enter through the Emergency Department and notify the attendant you wish you see a nurse from the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre.
Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital has a forensic nurse on call 24-hours a day for emergency services for youth and adults who:
- Have experienced a sexual assault within the past 12 days
- Have been assaulted by a partner within the the past 12 days
- Or a child who has been or is suspected to have been sexually assaulted in the past 72 hours
Please go to the Emergency Department at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital and tell the nurse at the front desk you would like to see the domestic assault or sexual assault nurse.
- Your Health Card
- Bring the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault in a paper bag if possible
- If you are wearing the clothing you were assaulted in and need a change of clothes, the nurse will provide clothing
- Bring a book or magazines as you may be waiting for some time
- If you feel comfortable bring a supportive friend or request accompaniment from your local Rape Crisis Centre
Services are provided by health care professionals who are specially trained in forensics and trauma related to abuse and assault. Options for care following assault are:
- First consent will be required to proceed with the examination and an explanation of the options for both the medical and forensic component.
- Examination and treatment of injuries
- Free testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections
- Free toxicology exams
- Free emergency contraception
- Sexual assault forensic examination
- Photographic documentation of injuries
- Risk assessment, safety planning and link to other community services
- first an explanation and consent sexual abuse and assault for all ages and intimate
If you have been drugged or think you have been drugged the following examinations can be done:
- Toxicology exam
- Alternate Light Source exam
- Fluorescent Light exam
- In depth assessment will be done and explained by a nurse
The examination depends on the number of injuries and what the patient chooses to have examined. Generally, an appointment takes 2 – 4 hours.
There is no fee for any DASA service, it is covered under OHIP. Confidentiality will be respected. Language interpretation services are available. DASA is an LGBTIS+ positive service space.
The DASA Center also offers the following:
- Family support
- Counselling services
- Follow-up medical care
- Safety planning
This is completely okay. Sometimes it is scary to know what to say or how to express what you’re feeling in the moment. You can start by mentioning as much or as little as you feel comfortable, and the facilitator will take it from there.
We aim to keep our calls to a 30-minute time limit to ensure all folx calling receive support. However, if you find that you need more assistance, the crisis line volunteer can stay on the line longer to assist you. If you feel you need ongoing support, you can ask the crisis line volunteer for resources such as counselling services.
Our line is a safe space. The crisis volunteer will do a risk assessment and provide you with any emotional support you may need as well as helping you create a safety plan. If the volunteer assesses you are still at risk of suicide, WSN has a duty to call emergency services to ensure you remain safe. The crisis volunteer will stay on the line with you until the appropriate services arrive.
We do not ask for any of your information. You can provide as little or as much information as you’d like. Everything that you say on the line is confidential.
Our crisis line operators receive training on self-care, sexual violence, feminism, intersectionality, and are informed through an anti-racist and anti-oppressive framework. They are there to offer emotional support, grounding/stabilization techniques, resources, and information to support-seekers.
If you are looking to report the incident to the police, you can do so by either calling 911, or by going to/contacting your local police station. If you are in York Region, you can report a sexual assault online here. You may also complete an anonymous report.
You will be asked to provide a statement and details about what happened to the officer assigned to your case. You will also likely be asked to have a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK) administered at a local hospital or domestic violence/sexual violence centre. The evidence collected from these kits may be held for up to 6 months.
If the perpetrator is an intimate partner, Ontario law requires that police pursue these charges and investigations. This means that if during an investigation it is found that an intimate partner has sexually assaulted you, the police will pursue the investigation regardless of the wishes of the survivor.
Charges must be laid in order for a case to be considered to go to trial. Only about 1 in 9 (11.5%) of sexual assault cases reported to police in Canada go to trial. Cases will first go through a preliminary hearing where evidence and testimonies are presented. The court will then decide if there is enough evidence to go to trial. If the accused pleads guilty at the preliminary hearing, the case will not go to trial, but rather move on to sentencing. You can find more about how the criminal trial system in Canada works here
No, WSN will not disclose or report any information the service user does not want reported or disclosed. However, we have a Duty to Report if:
1 . If you are under the age of sixteen (16):
a) If you inform us that someone is hurting you, has hurt you, or is likely to hurt you in the future, or you have witnessed domestic violence. (If you are under the age of 16, services will be offered to you from Children’s Aid Society.)
b) If you inform us that you have been abused by a professional in your life e.g. doctor, teacher, social worker, parent/step-parent etc.
2. If you inform us you are planning to hurt yourself or someone else, have a plan and the means.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions, we are unable to provide you with accompaniment to police stations and court. However, we do offer a 24/7 crisis line where our volunteers can gladly support you over the phone.
It is your choice to report your incident to the police or not, you may take time to consider your options to ensure you do not feel rushed. Some people choose to report while others do not. Sexual Assault Evidence Kits (SAEK) can be administered at a local hospital or DASA (Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault) Care Centre. In York Region, the DASA Care Centre can be found at Mackenzie Richmond Hill Hospital. At the emergency department, you can request to see the DASA/forensic nurse. There is a forensic nurse on call 24/7. The nurse can administer a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit (SAEK). You can deny any part of the kit that you do not feel comfortable with. Evidence collected can be held for up to 6 months, so you can make your decision about reporting at a later time when you are ready to make that decision.
Our services are available to youth under the age of 16. An intake will be done to assess each individual situation. We will not contact your guardian without your permission.
We provide support to anyone who has experience sexual violence, including Trans folxs, Two -Spirited, Non-Binary and male individuals. We can provide additional resources and referrals for clients as needed.
Services at WSN are free of charge. Access to programs such as group counselling, individual counselling, and anti-human trafficking services are free of charge. Services such as the crisis phone line and online crisis chat are available for anyone who has access to a phone or internet service.
Individuals can self-refer to our center. The first step is to contact our direct phone number at (905) 895-3646 and request an intake appointment be booked. We will assess your situation and refer you to the appropriate program within WSN or connect you another service provider if we think their services better meet your needs.
WSN is always looking for dynamic, energetic volunteers who want to support survivors of sexual violence and make a difference in their community. When you are ready to apply please go to our Online Application Form.
We are accepting applications for volunteers to support our 24-hour crisis line, Bingo, and Online Chat Service.
**Due to COVID restrictions some opportunities may not be available, or they may be delivered online**
Please note that we have two intake periods – one in the Spring and one in the Fall.
You can donate by clicking “Donate“. Donations of $20 or more are eligible for a tax receipt that will be provided by Canada Helps.
Yes, WSN is an accessible space and has wheelchair-accessible washrooms.
Sign up with your email address to receive news and updates.