main hospital building at night


CCH’s Assault and Sexual Abuse Program Offers Help and Support


May is Sexual Assault Prevention Month in Ontario. This month is dedicated to raising awareness of the effects of sexual violence in our community and emphasizing the need for assistance and resources for those affected by sexual assault.

In the aftermath of a sexual assault, survivors can face extremely difficult and painful emotions and experiences. The trauma of being assaulted can leave people feeling scared, angry, guilty, anxious, and sad. The stigma associated with sexual assault may cause some to feel embarrassed or ashamed. Many people don’t know or where to get the help.

Fortunately, local victims and survivors of sexual assault or intimate partner violence can access Cornwall Community Hospital’s (CCH) Assault and Sexual Abuse Program (ASAP). These services are available to anyone from Cornwall, the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, and Akwesasne. ASAP nurses are on call around the clock, seven days a week and can be at the hospital within 60 minutes.

These nurses can perform sexual assault evidence kits; assess and treat injuries from sexual violence; offer testing for sexually transmitted infections; and provide medications such as Plan B or to treat post-exposure prophylaxis to HIV.

They are also specially trained in crisis compassion counselling and can provide emotional support to victims, inform them of their rights, and provide information on what might come next. They can also provide advice on how victims can make a formal police report.

ASAP services aren’t only for crisis or emergency situations, they are also available for anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse or intimate partner violence, at any time. Social workers are available to provide psychotherapy and help survivors heal and cope with trauma.

“We’re giving power back to those who come for help. They can tell us what would meet their needs at the moment and we’ll work with them on addressing those needs, whether it be a crisis situation or follow-up care. We’ll be your advocate,” says Natalie Bourgeois, Manager of ASAP at CCH.

While the decision to access ASAP services or have an ASAP nurse attend in the Emergency Department is solely up to the patient’s discretion, we would highly encourage any victim or survivor to take advantage of this program at CCH.

“It is concerning is that our ASAP patient numbers had decreased during the pandemic. This was not indicative of less sexual assaults occurring, likely the impact that the pandemic had on patients seeking care. I want to remind our community and any survivor that we’re here for you and that our services are available any time you need them,” emphasizes Natalie.

Victims of sexual assault can access ASAP services at CCH by presenting themselves to the Emergency Department and requesting an ASAP nurse at any time. Survivors can also self-refer to ASAP by calling 1-866-263-1560 to speak with a program nurse and discuss options. All ASAP services including therapy are free of charge and patients remain confidential. Visit to learn more.