There is still little known about survivors’ experiences of and satisfaction with comprehensive nursing-led hospital-based sexual assault and domestic violence treatment programs.
To address this gap, we surveyed and collected information from clients/guardians presenting to 30 of 35 of Ontario’s Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres across seven domains: presentation characteristics, client characteristics, assailant characteristics, assault characteristics, health consequences, service use, and satisfaction with services.
One thousand four hundred eighty-four clients participated in the study, 96% of whom were women/girls. Most were White (75.3%), 12–44 years old (87.8%), and living with family (69.6%); 97.9% of clients used at least one service. The most commonly used service was assessment and/or documentation of injury (84.8%), followed by on-site follow-up care (73.6%). Almost all clients/guardians reported that they received the care needed (98.6%), rated the overall care as excellent or good (98.8%), and stated that the care had been provided in a sensitive manner (95.4%). Concerns and recommendations to improve care expressed by a small proportion of clients/guardians focused on long wait times, negative emergency department staff attitudes, issues of privacy and confidentiality, and difficulty with accessing services.
The high uptake and positive evaluation of services provided by Ontario’s Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre programs confirms the value of nursing-led, hospital-based care in the aftermath of sexual assault and domestic violence. Ongoing evaluation of such services will ensure the best care possible for this patient population.