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If you or someone else is in danger, do not hesitate to call 911. It is important to remember that anyone can be a victim of sexual assault—sex, race, religion, marital status, orientation or gender identification does not prevent someone from becoming abused.

As a friend or family member of someone who has been the victim of a sexual assault, it is important to educate yourself about what your loved one may be experiencing. The most important thing to realize is that everyone is affected differently, and will have their own unique reactions. Your loved one needs your support and assistance. You may not understand their behaviour, and you yourself may experience a range of emotions from Shock, Anger, Fear or Sadness. It is important to remind your loved one that what happened to them was not their fault, and that you will support them going forward.

They may need your help in accessing services such as professional mental health care, physical health care, and assistance in understanding the criminal justice system. They may need help from you to assist in creating or maintaining a safe environment (both physical and mental) for them to work on their healing.

It is important for survivors of sexual assault to make decisions on how they would like to go forward—do they want to go to the hospital or see their doctor, do they want to report the incident to police etc. are important decisions. You may feel strongly about what you think they should do. Allow your loved to come to these decisions on their own, and try to respect that decision. If your loved one is a child, and you are the parent or guardian it is up to you to take the next steps. It is important for you and your loved one to understand that in cases of recent sexual offences, there is potentially short-lived evidence on their body or clothes. Attending the hospital or a medical practitioner’s office will allow for the Sexual Assault Kit to be explained and/or completed. That way the evidence is saved in case the victim decides they would like to proceed through the criminal justice system. Once evidence is lost, you cannot get it back.

Victims of sexual assault are often at higher risk for things like: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Substance Abuse (or increased Substance Abuse), Depression, High Risk Behaviour, and Suicide.

There are excellent online resources that can assist both the victim of the Sexual Assault, as well as yourself as a friend or family member. More information can be found here.

The following information is important to consider and provide to a loved one that has been the victim of sexual assault:

» Physical self-care

Sexual violence can result in many physical effects which impact your health. It is important that following an assault you seek out health care to be checked and treated for any injuries and other health concerns.

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» Emotional self-care

Emotional responses of survivors will vary from individual to individual. Sexual assault can be extremely traumatic and life-changing. It’s important to remember that your responses are not crazy; they are normal reactions to a traumatic situation—sexual assault.

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» Know your rights & get assistance with a court case

If you are the victim of a sexual assault and have filed a police report, it is likely you will need to go to court. This can be a difficult and confusing experience. You may have a lot of questions about the criminal court system and what will be expected of you.

» If you make a police report

If you wish to report the incident to police, you should contact police in the area that the offense took place. If you are unsure which police to contact, contact your local police first and they can assist you.

» Sexual intimacy after sexual assault

After a sexual assault, many people find that their sexual attitudes and reactions seem different. While these effects do not have to be permanent, they can be worrisome and prevent the enjoyment of sexual life and intimacy.

» Flashbacks

Flashbacks are memories of past traumas or feelings of ‘re-living’ the event. They may be in a picture you see in your mind or they may appear in the form of sounds, smells, body sensations, and feelings. Often, there is no actual memory that you can see or hear. You may have a sense of anxiety, panic, feeling trapped or powerless.

» Get some help

We have a great deal of Community Resources filtered by geography, service age and service gender.

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