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How do I know if I’ve been sexually assaulted?

You may have been sexually assaulted if you:

  • did not agree to participate in any form of sexual activity or contact
  • were forced to engage in any unwanted sexual activity or contact through pressure, manipulation or threat
  • were unaware of the sexual activity or contact
  • were unable to understand and agree to the sexual activity at the time (ex: if you were asleep, unconscious, high or drunk).

What should I do if I’ve been sexually assaulted?

  • If you believe you are still in danger, call 911.
  • Get to a safe place.
  • Go to a hospital, clinic or nursing station as soon as possible.
  • Tell someone you trust (ex: friend, relative, Elder).
  • Preserve evidence (ex: keep unwashed clothing worn during the assault).

Your health is important. Even if you can’t see signs of injury, we urge you to seek medical help as soon as possible. You may have internal damage, been exposed to sedating or illegal drugs and/or been exposed to sexually transmitted infections.

Receiving medical care within five days (120 hours) of an assault is likely to result in the best health outcome for you. Some medicines (ex: to prevent pregnancy, to prevent infections, to reduce your risk if exposed to HIV or hepatitis) must be taken very soon after an assault to be effective.

It’s also important that a sexual assault examination kit be completed within this time frame.


What if it has been longer than five days?
It’s not too late. A health care provider can still examine and treat you for your injuries, give you advice on your options and refer you to services in the community that can help you.

What happens when I go to the hospital?

When you go to the hospital, you will be:

  • given a medical examination
  • tested and treated for sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections
  • tested for pregnancy
  • asked if you want medicine to prevent you from getting pregnant (ex: the Morning After Pill, Plan B)
  • asked if you want the police to be called
  • given the choice to have evidence collected (ex: photos, bodily fluid samples such as blood)
  • referred to other services in the community that can help

All medical services provided will be safe, free and confidential.

You can bring a friend, family member or support person with you to the hospital. Counsellors from Klinic’s Sexual Assault Crisis Program are on call for any sexual assault victim at any time. They will bring a change of clothing for you when they meet you at the hospital. For more information on Klinic’s Sexual Assault Crisis Program, please call the 24-Hour Sexual Assault Crisis Line at 204-786-8631 in Winnipeg; toll free 1-888-292-7565 in Manitoba.

In northeastern Manitoba, Survivor’s Hope Crisis Centre (SARAH Program) helps sexual assault victims. Hospital or RCMP staff can call SARAH Program workers to help you. They can provide information, support (e.g., go with you to the hospital or to make a police report), and help refer you to local resources. You can access SARAH, 24/7, through the Selkirk General Hospital, Pinawa Hospital, Pine Falls Health Complex and Beausejour District Hospital. SARAH program staff can be reached at: 1-204-753-5353 during regular business hours.

What is a sexual assault examination kit?

In addition to the medical exam, you may also choose to have a sexual assault examination kit done (also called a forensic examination).

The kit must be done within five days (120 hours) after the assault.

This examination is a search for evidence on your body needed for a police investigation. Evidence may be collected using swabs, blood samples, DNA samples and photographs.

Some parts of the exam may be uncomfortable for you and it can take a long time to complete, but it is important to try to complete it. You can take as much time as you need to get it done. If you can’t complete it, you can refuse any part of the exam or end it at any time.

In rural Manitoba, the kits are held by the local police or RCMP, until needed. The sexual assault examination kit may be delivered by the police to the local hospital or health centre, as part of the routine medical response and examination process.

Can I get medical help without reporting to police?

You can get medical, confidential help without reporting to police.  Choosing to have a sexual assault examination and reporting the sexual assault to police are two separate processes.


If you were sexually assaulted by your intimate or domestic partner (past or present), and report the assault to police, they are required to investigate the incident fully. If the police decide there is evidence that a crime has been committed, they may lay charges. For example, if you report a sexual assault by a boyfriend or husband, the police are required to investigate, even if you change your mind and decide that you no longer want to proceed.

If you were younger than 16 years old at the time of the assault, the police may also be required to investigate (depending to some extent on your age, and the age of the other person). If you are under 18, the person to whom you reported the assault must call Child and Family Services to report what happened.

Where can I get medical help in Winnipeg?

You can visit any Emergency Department or Urgent Care Centre to receive medical care. Health Sciences Centre has Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners who may be consulted.

The Health Science Centre Sexual Assault Program is staffed with a team of nurses, specifically trained in providing care to patients who have experienced a sexual assault. All sexual assault patients are admitted through the HSC emergency departments. The goal of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is to provide options and choices about medical care and/or police reporting, provide medications to prevent infection and pregnancy, and connect patients with counselling services so they have appropriate support to transition back into the community.

When you report to the emergency department at Health Sciences Centre, you will visit the triage desk and be asked why you have come to hospital. At this time, you may be asked if you want to see a SANE nurse. They will also ask if you would like to have a trained volunteer from Klinic’s Sexual Assault Program come to the hospital to stay with you. This person can help answer your questions, support you and explain your options. They can also stay with you for the medical examination and while you talk to police. You can also bring a support person (friend or family) with you to hospital. The SANE nurse will help you decide the best medical care. If you decide to report the assault to police, the nurse will also assist you with contacting the police. An officer in plain clothes may either come to the hospital to talk to you, or contact you within 24 hours.

For more information about the Health Sciences Centre Sexual Assault Program go to http://www.hsc.mb.ca/emergencyNurseExam.html.

Where can I get medical help outside of Winnipeg?

If you live outside of Winnipeg, you can go to:

  • your local hospital emergency room or nursing station
  • your family doctor or health care provider

Please visit the regional health authority (RHA) website to find out the services available in your area.

You can also call Health Links at 204-788-8200 in Winnipeg or toll free at 1-888-315-9257 in Manitoba for help and more information.