Registed Nurses' Association of Ontario

Publications & Resources

January/February 2014

Publish Date: 
Cover Story: 
Helping Victims of Violence - Sexual assault nurse examiners provide standardized care to victims of violence.

Kathleen Fitzgerald was asleep in her Kenora home when the phone rang. She squinted at the clock. It was half-past midnight. Dazed, she picked up the receiver. It was an anxious physician. A very young child arrived with a guardian at the Fort Frances site of Riverside Health Care’s emergency department. He disclosed multiple instances of sexual abuse and physical assault over the span of many months at the hands of a family member.

The general practitioner had never encountered a patient this young who had experienced such trauma. Questions raced through his mind: what kinds of injuries should I look for? I’ve never used a forensic evidence collection kit before. Should I, in this instance? Do I need to make a referral?