If you’re in crisis or need immediate assistance phone 911.
Victim Quick Response Program (VQRP) and Victim Crisis and Referral Service (VCRS) are programs for victims of crime, and are often part of Victim Service organizations. Many of these provide a range of services that are free of charge including:
- Crisis intervention at the scene and afterwards;
- Referrals to community agencies;
- Emergency home safety repairs;
- Emergency transportation costs;
- Emergency child care and dependent care for elderly and special needs;
- Crime scene cleanup;
- Short-term counselling services.
If you have a question about who provides VQRP or VCRS in your community you can call the Victim Support Line at 1-888-579-2888 or check with your local police service to be referred for help and support.
Victim/Witness Assistance Program (V/WAP)
Survivors of sexual abuse or violence who have brought charges against their abuser are connected with V/WAP who provide information, assistance and support to victims of crime throughout the criminal justice process. V/WAP provides services free of charge including:
- Emotional support, crisis intervention, advocacy and debriefing;
- Information and referrals to community agencies;
- Information about the Victim’s Bill of Rights, Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, Victim Impact Statements, and the Victim Support Line;
- Updates about court proceedings including sentences, and enabling a survivor to provide input to the Crown Attorney regarding their case with bail hearings, resolutions and sentencing;
- Providing copies of court documents and explanations about the information;
- Arranging for an interpreter for the survivor if needed;
- Accompanying the survivor to court if resources permit;
- Educating the survivor on his or her rights including the right to request a ban on the publication of their name, under certain circumstances, and the right to make a Victim Impact Statement.
Sexual Assault Centres
In London and area the Sexual Assault Centre London operates a 24 hour crisis and support line. Women and men can call if they need crisis intervention or emotional support at 519-438-2272.
Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centres
For London and the surrounding counties this service is provided at St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Room B0-644, 268 Grosvenor Street, London, Ontario, N6A 4V2
You can access the program (Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) 519 646-6100 ext. 64224
After hours call 519 646-6100, press “0” and ask switchboard to page the nurse-on-call for sexual assault and domestic violence.
The Regional Centre provides support and options for survivors of sexual violence. This includes collecting forensic evidence (sexual assault evidence kit –SAEK), as well as sexually transmitted infection testing, provision of prophylactic medication (i.e. Hepatitis B, HIV, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea), treatment for the assault, physical and emotional support, and documentation of injuries. They also refer victims to local organizations for ongoing support. Certain medications are time sensitive so it’s important for you to be seen as soon as you are able. Women, men and children can all receive some or all of the services offered.
However, if you want forensic evidence collected it is time sensitive. Adults need to be seen within 7 days of the assault and children (0-11 years of age) need to be seen within 72 hours of the assault. Children aged 12-17 are covered under adult protocols so need to have evidence collected within 7 days of the assault.
Victims must be medically cleared by a family or walk-in clinic doctor, emergency room physician, or nurse practitioner before going to the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centre:
- If under 72 hours from the time of assault;
- If the victim is under 12 years of age; or
- If there are any medical concerns.
In London, medical clearance can also be provided by Urgent Care Centres during regular hours.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Board awards financial compensation for victims of crimes of violence that happened in Ontario. Survivors who want to submit a claim need to complete an application and submit it to the Board. The application is available at http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca/mbs/ssb/forms/ssbforms.nsf/GetFileAttach/004-0310E~1/$File/0310E_Application.pdf
- Victims of crime can apply for financial support for:
- Medical & dental expenses;
- Treatment including psychological treatment and counselling;
- Pain & suffering award;
- Loss of wages/income;
- Support for child born as a result of a sexual assault.
Rules stipulate that the Board needs to receive the application within 2 years of the crime but you can request an extension and explain the reason for the delay, as in the case of child sexual abuse. An important thing to know is that you can apply even if you haven’t reported the crime to the police or haven’t gone through the criminal justice process. It’s a very long and detailed application. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, you may want to get a friend, family member, or peer support person to help you gather the information, and fill it out.
If you have any questions you can contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board at 1-800-372-7463, or the Victim Support Line at 1-888-579-2888. You can also visit the website at http://www.cicb.gov.on.ca/en/index.htm for more information.
Some other things to know:
- You can file an application on behalf of another person, but only if you are the parent or legal guardian of a victim, or if you have the authority to make decisions for someone due to mental or physical disability.
- The Board will need information and documents to support your claim. This could be medical or counselling reports or receipts, police reports if made, court files or other documents. They can help you get these documents. After the Board has all the necessary information they will have a hearing and make a decision.
- By law your abuser is entitled to be notified about a Board hearing and may choose to participate. If you’re worried about this or about disclosure of personal information to your abuser, you must tell the Board during the application process.
- Depending on the type of hearing that will be held (documentary, oral or written), you may be asked to attend or to participate by telephone. At this time, the Board holds hearings in London and several other communities in Ontario.
- The Board comes to their decisions through several means, including whether there is enough reliable information, whether you’ve had other benefits paid as a result of the crime, and other factors. Following the decision, you will receive written notification, including financial compensation if your award has been successful.
- Receiving money from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board does not take away your right, or ability, to sue for damages through the civil courts.
- If you need immediate financial or other assistance before your case is decided, you may be able to receive some funds by calling the Victim Support Line at 1-888-679-2888, or by contacting your local Victim Service program. This could be to cover things like medical or therapy expenses, among other things. In this case, you would need to be able to provide police or medical records which show that you need the funds, and that an award would likely be made.
- The maximum amount granted varies, and can be a paid as a lump sum or on a monthly periodic basis.
- If you receive an award and are also receiving Ontario Disability or Ontario Works, this will likely have an impact on those benefits. You may want to talk to your caseworker for more information.
Victim Support Line
This is a province-wide, multilingual information line that provides a range of services to victims of crime. It provides:
- Information and referral to community support services;
- Access to information about provincially sentenced offenders. People can also register for automated notification when an offender’s status changes. This may be important for survivors whose abuser has been sentenced to time in prison.
You can call toll-free at 1-888-579-2888.
Support Services for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Male survivors of recent or historical childhood sexual abuse can access a number of specialized services to help them deal with the abuse, including individual and group counselling, telephone and online counselling, and referrals to community organizations.
Survivors can call a multilingual line 24 hours a day for immediate crisis and referral services at 1-866-887-0015. Men can also call the 24/7 crisis line through Sexual Assault Centre London if they need crisis intervention or emotional support (519-438-2272).
In London and Area, Daya Counselling (519- 434-0077) and Family Service Thames Valley (519-433-0183) both offer services to male survivors of sexual abuse.
If you need a lawyer you can locate your Community Legal Clinic or Legal Aid Office by visiting http://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/contact/contact.asp?type=cl to find a location near you. This can be useful to see if you’re eligible for legal aid, and to provide legal options and representation if you decide to go to court. Some lawyers have a lot of experience with sexual abuse cases, and they can help you decide if it makes sense for you to go through a civil lawsuit.
Community Legal Services are provided by Legal Aid Ontario. These legal clinics provide information, advice and representation on various legal issues including social assistance, housing, employment law, human rights and workers’ compensation. Some legal clinics don’t handle all issues, however the staff may be able to refer you to someone who can help. To qualify, your issue must be one that the clinic handles, you must live in the clinic area, and your income and assets can’t be above a certain level. Most legal clinics provide brief advice, or summary advice, without asking about your financial situation.
Community Legal Services are staffed by lawyers and community legal workers, in addition to law students. Each legal clinic is run by a volunteer board of directors, with members from the community. All help is private, confidential, and provided free of charge. These clinics only represent those who are not eligible for a legal aid certificate from the Legal Aid Area Office.
In London and Middlesex, the Community Legal Services are provided by law students, and supervised by lawyers. It runs from September-April. They can be reached at:
Faculty of Law, Room 120
1151 Richmond St,
London, ON, N6A 3K7
You can also contact the Lawyer Referral Service at 1-900-565-4577. For a small cost, you are given the name of a lawyer who will provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes, to help you determine your rights and options.
Lastly, you can phone 211 or visit the website at www.211ontario.ca to find legal services in your community.
Victims’ Bill of Rights
This is a guide about how justice officials should treat victims at different stages of the criminal justice process. Basically this means that victims/survivors:
- Are treated with courtesy, compassion and respect;
- Have access to information about services that could help;
- Have access to information about the progress of the criminal investigation, trial, and release of their abuser from custody;
- Have the option of being interviewed by police officers of the same gender when there has been a sexual assault; and,
- Have access to information about plea and pre-trial arrangements.
The Bill of Rights also makes it easier for survivors to sue their abuser in civil actions. It says that the abuser, if convicted of a crime, is liable for damages to the victim for emotional distress and bodily harm. It’s also clear that the offender’s sentence should not be considered when awarding compensation to a victim. Survivors who are successful in their lawsuits also are entitled to reimbursement for most of their legal costs.