Options for Getting Support

It’s not your fault

Feelings such as shame, fear and guilt are common reactions to experiencing sexual violence. Sexual violence can happen to people of all ages, races, genders, sexual identities, abilities, religions, or physical appearances. Sexual violence can happen on a date, in your home, at work or on the street. You can be assaulted by a partner, trusted friend, close relative, or a complete stranger.

Get to a safe space

It's important to get to a location you feel safe. At that point, you can start to explore your options.

Explore your options

You may choose to use some or none of the following options. If you want to talk to someone about further options, we recommend connecting with one of the 24 hour resources listed in the panel to the right.

Talking to a friend, family member or other trusted person

Experiencing sexual violence can often come with many feelings. Having someone you trust that you can talk to can help.

Connecting with the Student Affairs Case Director

The Student Affairs Case Director can provide you with information about support, accommodation, and reporting options available on campus and in the community. 

Calling a 24 hour phone line

The people on the other end of the line are trained to support people in many kinds of life situations, including survivors of sexual assault, sexual violence, and partner abuse. The staff and/or volunteers at these services can explore options with you and, if needed, refer you to additional resources.

The right-hand panel of this site (Connect to a 24hr Resource) contains resources for the Guelph-Wellington area. You can also find them listed on our Resources page.

Getting medical attention

If you are hurt, or worried about pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, you can access specialized medical assistance at the Guelph General Hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To access service go directly to the Emergency Department and ask to see a Domestic/Partner Violence Nurse. She will be paged immediately. You will be offered a private waiting area until the nurse arrives - usually within one hour. Any injuries requiring immediate attention are looked after in the Emergency Department first. Know that you are entitled to access medical attention regardless of whether you choose to report the assault to the police.

This service is offered through the Guelph-Wellington Care & Treatment Centre for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence which has a team of specialized nurses who have training and experience caring for people who have experienced sexual assault and/or partner violence.

Services are available to people of all genders.

Having medical evidence collected

Whether or not you decide to file an official report with the police or pursue legal actions, you can have medical evidence collected during your examination that could help in the future. Medical evidence can be stored for up to six months while you get the information you need to make a decision on legal action.

If this is an option you want to pursue, here are some tips:

  • Visit the Guelph General Hospital as soon as possible
  • Do not shower before your examination as this could wash away crucial evidence
  • Do not change your clothes as they will be processed as evidence
  • Bring a change of clothes with you
  • Bring any items you had with you when the assault occurred

Accessing emotional support counselling and professional support

Experiencing sexual violence can be very hard to work through on your own. Accessing the services of a counsellor can help provide you with longer-term support.

You can find counselling options listed on the Resources page.

Filing an official report

In Canada, sexual violence is considered a serious offence. You have the right to contact the police and make an official statement. If you are on campus, you can also contact the Office of Diversity and Human Rights or (if you are living in Residence) your Residence Manager.

It is ultimately your decision whether or not to involve the police. We understand that this decision may be difficult. Consulting with Women In Crisis, a professional counsellor, the Student Affairs Case Director or other trusted resource may be able to help you decide what you want to do.

Find out more about reporting sexual violence and who to contact to start a report.