Noojmowin Teg, MHC sign MOU for rape victim services

AUNDECK OMNI KANING – Noojmowin Teg Health Centre has signed an agreement with Manitoulin Health Centre (MHC) for the former’s new sexual assault/domestic violence (SADV) support service, which will allow for forensic testing at the hospital when patients opt to not use the designated space at Noojmowin Teg.

“We are excited to collaborate with Noojmowin Teg and add this service for victims of SADV on Manitoulin Island,” stated MHC vice-president of clinical services and chief nursing officer Paula Fields in a report to the hospital’s board this past month.

Noojmowin Teg’s SADV clinic will offer forensic testing services as well as connect patients with mental health counsellors. 

The Expositor reported when Noojmowin Teg secured funding for this program in May that it was working with MHC to host alternative testing sites.

“It’s exciting news and it’s one step closer to us getting these services operational on the Island, so this is great,” said Noojmowin Teg executive director Danielle Wilson.

Having the agreement allows forensic testing to take place at either of the Mindemoya or Little Current hospital sites, as well as at Noojmowin Teg. This allows patients, who have undergone a traumatic experience, to avoid the burden of checking into one centre and later relocating to another.

“Our intent was to provide services here so patients didn’t have to present in Sudbury,” said Ms. Wilson. “We’re trying to minimize the amount of travel the patient will have to do.” 

Anyone who uses the SADV clinic is welcome to see one of Noojmowin Teg’s counsellors or another mental health counsellor upon request. 

Although the SADV clinic is not yet operational, it is close to accepting its first patients. Ms. Wilson said she was hoping to have it running this fall with an official launch date to follow after its soft launch.

It’s important to get the program right—not only is it the first community and cultural-based SADV clinic in Ontario, its purpose is partly to gather forensic evidence that can be entered as part of a legal case.

The final preparations include getting the remaining equipment, establishing referral pathways and finalizing the forms for patients.