Increase in sexual assault cases reported at Sudbury hospital may be connected to #MeToo movement

The number of people showing up to Sudbury's hospital to report a sexual assault has doubled over last year. Recent movements like "We Believe Survivors" and #MeToo could be the reason behind the increase.

Head of violence intervention, prevention program believes women are being supported due to #MeToo movement

The number of sexual assault cases being reported at Health Sciences North in Sudbury are double what they were last year. Some believe this is due to women feeling supported through the #MeToo movement. (CBC)
The number of people reporting sexual assaults is up. That's in part due to the MeToo movement which has emboldened many to come forward. Nancy Horan is the manager of the violence and prevention program at Health Sciences North. She says more people are turning to local service for help. 7:52

The number of people showing up to the hospital in Sudbury to report a sexual assault has doubled over last year during the same time period.

That's according to Nancy Horan, manager of the violence intervention and prevention program at Health Sciences North.

She says sexual assault work hasn't changed much over the years, however recent movements like "We Believe Survivors" and #MeToo are changing the numbers.

"Society is now sort of taking notice and standing up.  I think before, these women were telling their stories, but it wasn't getting all of this media attention, or people weren't feeling supported," Horan says.

She added that with these movements these women are feeling supported, and in turn have the strength to come forward. 

"The media attention and all of the conversations that the communities are having, people are able to identify in themselves that 'hey, ya that happened to me or that's my story'. And they're able to say 'Geeze you know, maybe that wasn't right or that wasn't what I believed was my fault," Horan says.

"We're here to help. Just call us and we'll meet you where you are at, and support you."

A provincial action plan on sexual violence and harassment in 2015 estimates for every 1,000 sexual assaults, only 33 are reported to police.

With files from Jessica Pope