In 1993, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care established the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault Treatment Centres. In 1998, the Network officially became known as the Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centres upon receiving enhanced funding to expand the mandate to include the provision of care to victims/survivors of domestic violence. The Network was established out of an identified need to improve the care of victims/survivors who were accessing services through emergency departments across the province. Since its inception, the Network has sought to standardize services across the province, to ensure that the health, forensic, and psycho-social needs of victims/survivors are met regardless of where they seek care. Services provided at sexual assault/domestic violence treatment centres (SA/DVTCs) are trauma-specific and rooted in current, evidence-based best practices.
Today, the Network consists of 36 SA/DVTCs which span the province and provide care to individuals who have recently experienced sexual violence and/or domestic violence.
It is a distressing reality that, 25 years later, the need for SA/DVTCs remains so significant. At the same time, this year marks a milestone worth recognizing in terms of the advancements in the quality of care and treatment provided to victims/survivors across Ontario, driven by increased education opportunities offered by the Network and the Network’s increasingly active research program. Recent events including the #MeToo campaign and certain high profile legal cases have contributed to an increased awareness of sexual violence – both in terms of prevalence and impacts on survivors. However, rape culture still very much influences prevalent discourses and attitudes surrounding sexual violence, creating and maintaining incredible barriers to reporting sexual violence and accessing care and treatment. The Network recognizes that there are certain populations which experience specific and unique barriers to care, and as such we remain committed to engaging Ontario’s diverse communities to enhance access to care for all Ontarians.
As the Network moves forward, we will continue to provide leadership and support through advocacy, education, and research to our 36 SA/DVTCs to ensure all individuals who have experienced sexual violence and/or domestic violence have access to comprehensive, timely, and trauma-specific supports to address their immediate needs and facilitate healing and post-traumatic growth.
Click here to download the 25th Anniversary of the ONSADVTC poster