British Columbia

Rape kits to be made accessible to Squamish sexual assault victims

Sexual assault victims in Squamish will soon be able to access rape kits in the community, instead of having to travel to a hospital in Vancouver for a forensic exam.

At the moment, victims must travel to Vancouver for evidence to be collected

A forensic exam can be done up to 120 hours after a sexual assault, and the results can be kept for days, months or even years while a victim decides if they want to pursue charges. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

Sexual assault victims in Squamish will soon be able to access rape kits in the community, instead of having to travel to hospital in Vancouver for a forensic exam.

The kits generally include a checklist, materials, and instructions, along with envelopes and containers to package any specimens collected during the exam.

Vancouver Coastal Health says a nurse will be available in Squamish as of mid-December to offer the forensic exams, which collect the court-required evidence after an assault.

The health authority also says some local doctors have expressed interest in providing the exams and once they complete the necessary training, they will form a team with a nurse.

Thirteen health centres in southern B.C. can administer rape kits, while doctors in all 24 northern hospitals can provide the exams.

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