getting the rape kit into our hospital

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getting the rape kit into our hospital



we have a regional hospital here that doesn't do the rape kit.
Women are sent (sometimes in the back of a police cruiser!!) to a larger centre 40 min away.
We are trying to get the kit done locally---the professionals both in the urbann centre and here want no part of any change.
anyone worked on this issue before? any pointers?

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

It never even crossed my mind that a hospital wouldn't be equipped to do a rape kit. That's horrible morningstar.

I guess all you can do is lobby all those involved with that decision, as well as speak to allies. Wouldn't the police be for a change in policy at your local hospital?


What is the rationale behind this, I wonder? Is it cost, facilities, is this hospital mandated to perform only certain tests and services and everything else is discretionary and gets referred out? What other procedures are they sending out? Is there any way to find out what other hospitals do? If this is like, one of the only hospitals in the province that refuses to perform this procedure, that should be a slam dunk. There should be data somewhere, or the regional rape crisis centres would probably know. But if many other smaller hospitals are refusing this service, in that case I would want to hook up with an umbrella group like the NACSW (telephone number in the link below) and also consider consulting a sympathetic lawyer.

I wonder if these folks would have any suggestions to start with?


Women's Action Centre Against Violence
300 - 260 Dalhousie St.
Ottawa, Ontario
Canada K1N 7E4
Tel: (613) 241-5414
E-mail: [email protected]
We are an organization of women and men committed to preventing and ending violence against women. We work with community groups to look at the built environment with a safety audit and facilitate the development of recommendations to improve safety. We also do extensive public education on the issue of violence against women and work with other community groups. We are currently working on a project to improve safety for health care and social service workers in remote rural areas. In the past we have done work on sexual harrassment and the response of the criminal justice system to women victims of violence.


The link is to a list of women's organizations active in Ontario. Not sure how current or comprehensive it is.

Maysie Maysie's picture

morningstar, that's horrible.

Just a few guesses from me on why your hospital doesn't have rape kits.

In general, we all know that violence against women isn't considered that important, or even that real, so this attitude will inform how hospital policies get made. I know you already know this!

That said, I know the new LHIN structure in Ontario (Local Health Integration Network) has really fucked stuff up for many people. Maybe the LHIN you're in (Stratford is in South West LHIN I believe) has allocated "rape" kits to a certain hospital for reasons that are unknown and profoundly bureaucratic rather than being effective and useful for, you know, what are they called, service users? Oh yeah, PEOPLE, and in this case, women. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

If this is the case then there will be little to no hope in getting rape kits done at your local hospital, but I wonder if a local CHC (community health centre) or medical clinic would do them. The drawback is they aren't open 24 hours and don't have emergency services.

I bet there are women's orgs in your area that would have more info about this, and if it's been addressed already.


It does sound like a bureaucratic kind of decision, doesn't it? I work for one of those, not strictly health care, but I've been amazed how quickly some problems have been rectified with a little public pressure applied in the right places.


it is, I believe, a bureacratic issue but when one prods the excuses, it's really just a house of cards.
I'm on the board of the women's shelter here and we are pariah with the police.
they seem to prefer to ship local rape cases out.
I've actually heard people who have a say and who should know better, deny that rape is a problem here!
people in this region seem to just wish we'd go quietly away.
The urban centre that now has the rape kit "experts", doesn't want to give up any of their "clientbase"

I suspect that many small centres are in the same boat or will be soon---so much more "efficient"
We're being buried in managerial mode thinking that doen't factor in women.
There is not much in the way of effective sexual assault front line here---we're trying to change that as well but it's all a worry and makes little sense in real women's lives. There is very little reporting of sexual assault in this area---I just think that they don't know where to go and feel unsupported. I think that we'd see more reporting if more services were offered.
Why shouldn't every hospital do this kit if women want it? so strange.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Sounds to me like the medical bureaucracy is treating rape kits the same way they treat access to abortions. It is definitely disgusting and anti-women.

Maysie Maysie's picture


Originally posted by triciamarie:
[b]I've been amazed how quickly some problems have been rectified with a little public pressure applied in the right places.[/b]

I agree, except for the issue of sexual assault.

In terms of women's issues, my experience as a consultant working with shelters, sexual assault crisis centres, and organizations that deal with domestic violence, sexual assault issues are very very difficult to get politicians, funders, or anyone outside the sector to rally around. In terms of government (funding or any other kind of support) nobody wants to take it on, and those who do, can't decide which government ministry is responsible. For some places it's framed as a "victims and justice" issue, therefore MAG (Ministry of the Attorney General). For others it's MOH (Ministry of Health). Others it's a public health and safety issue and gets funding and support from the municipal level.

I'm going to assume that the having of rape kits available, and trained personnel, is not such a huge resources drain on hospitals, and since we all know the stats on sexual assault (either one in 4 or one in 3 women will experience sexual assault in her lifetime) it's appalling that these services aren't available everywhere, to make them at least an option for women, the many women, who will need such services at some point in their lives.


That's very interesting. I'm shocked to hear that.

Is there any potential legal recourse? This is infringing a Charter right -- what does the caselaw say? And /or, what is the hospital's duty of care? It's getting much easier to sue the crown these past number of years. Do the (non)treating (I'm assuming) hospitalists have any professional or legal obligations?