What you can do if you have been sexually assaulted

Seeking medical attention

If you have been hurt or injured, you may seek medical treatment. If you decide to report the assault, having a forensic medical examination at a hospital emergency room is an option. This free examination allows for evidence collection and preservation. If you are interested in this option, you can make your way to any of the four hospitals in the HRM and ask for a SANE Nurse, a specially trained nurse at the hospital through the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program (SANE)

You are able to access medical attention without a forensic examination. For example, you may just want to be tested for pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The SANE Nurses provide care through a trauma-informed lens and are here to support your immediate medical needs whatever they may be.

If the assault was not recent, you may visit your family doctor, the Halifax Sexual Health Centre, or Student Health Services are all options for you to consider. Student Health Services can see students quickly and on an urgent basis, and can provide immediate and continuing medical services (other than forensic exams) in a safe and confidential environment.  

Do I have to report it?

Whether or not to report an experience of sexualized violence is your choice! Many people choose to report and/or not report for various reasons. If you are interested in reporting your experience to the University, you may do so by contacting the Sexualized Violence Advisor.
Even if you do not decide to report your experience, we highly encourage you to speak to someone about it. You do not need to formally report your experience to talk to the Sexualized Violence Advisor. They also take disclosures and are able to provide you with options, resources, and support.

Reporting to police is also an option. Dalhousie Security Services or Human Rights & Equity Services can assist you in contacting the police to report an incident. Unless required by law, a survivor's choice to report or not report to police will be respected. The Sexualized Violence Advisor can provide you with information about what that process may look like as well as in-person accompaniment and court support. In the Halifax area, Avalon Sexual Assault Centre offers various services, including providing a supportive presence at the hospital or police station following an assault, and a court accompaniment program for women and trans people navigating the criminal process. 

Remember, it is your right to decide how you want to move forward. We strongly encourage that you speak to someone you trust about your experience, be kind and gentle with yourself, and explore all the options to determine what supports you need.

To give adult survivors of sexual assault better support, the province of Nova Scotia created the Legal Advice for Sexual Assault Survivors program.

The program respects survivors’ privacy and their right to make their own decisions. Registering is done through an independent agency, 211 Nova Scotia, and participants do not have to report to police or take legal action if they use this service.