Expanded Role For Nurse Practitioners In Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault.

By May 18, 2015Issues

Release. The B.C. Government, through its three-year Provincial Domestic Violence Plan and A Vision for a Violence Free BC strategy, recognizes the need for relevant services and supports to prevent and respond to violence.

Current research confirms that one in four women will experience sexual violence in her lifetime. Today, through the new Embrace Clinic, Fraser Health is expanding the scope of the Forensic Nursing Service to include community-based after care for patients 12 years of age and older, who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking and exploitation.

“Providing support to a very vulnerable population, such as those who are victims of abusive crimes like sexual assault or domestic violence, is one of government’s highest priorities,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “Today’s announcement reflects the critical work being done by the ministry to build even more community-based care, including expanded roles for nurse practitioners as a part of inter-professional and collaborative teams.”

The Embrace Clinic offers regional, mobile-outreach health services for patients who have experienced trauma, including sexual assault or abuse; domestic assault or abuse; human trafficking; and sexual exploitation or extortion. The clinic is the outcome of an innovative partnership between Fraser Health, Surrey Women’s Centre, the Women’s Resource Society of the Fraser Valley, Surrey North Delta Division of Family Practice, and the Abbotsford Division of Family Practice and is led by a team of two Nurse Practitioners at the Embrace Clinic.

The nurse practitioners use a trauma-informed approach that recognizes the impact of traumatic experiences on an individual’s physical, emotional, psychosocial and spiritual well-being. Special attention is given to safety needs by offering patients choice, options and alternatives to begin to build a trusting relationship with the health care team.

“Following a violent incident, patients may experience feelings of shame, embarrassment or fear, which may cause them to not consult their regular health care provider,” said Hannah Varto, Nurse Practitioner with the Embrace Clinic. “This can put them at risk for further health issues, such as sexually transmitted infections, mental illness, addiction, and complications arising from untreated physical injuries. We want to build trust between these patients and the health care system.”

Health care services offered include, but are not limited to, testing for HIV, sexually transmitted infections and care of the emotional, physical and spiritual injuries following violence. To refer a person to the Embrace Clinic, call 1-855-775-7223.

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