More services will soon be provided for Nova Scotians who have experienced sexual assault or abuse. I am pleased to report that those expanded services will be available here in Colchester County. The SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) program supports survivors of sexual assault, and a contract to provide those services has been awarded to VON (Victorian Order of Nurses). VON will work with the NSHA (Nova Scotia Health Authority) to train nurses to deliver the program. These are registered nurses who will have advanced training and expertise so they can provide specialized medical and forensic response.
The SANE program provides victims with responses 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. This response can include medical and/or forensic examinations, expert testimony in a court of law, and collection and storage of forensic evidence in co-operation with the victim. SANE services are supportive, non-judgmental and confidential.
As your Government, our goal is to have every hospital in the province equipped to provide sexual assault services. Once the team of registered nurses have completed their advanced training, the program will be up and running through the Colchester East Hants Health Centre in Truro.
In the meantime, someone wishing to access these services can report to the emergency department at the hospital where health care teams can complete the medical and forensic examination. Other services available through the SANE program include free legal advice, dedicated sexual assault prosecutors and trauma therapy. Our government is investing $1.3 million this year to expand the SANE program to communities across the province. I am pleased to have that service available here in Colchester North.
Karen Casey, MLA