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London Police Service partners with St. Joseph's Health Care London to meet the needs of human trafficking victims

Credit: ST. JOSEPH'S HEALTH CARE LONDON

London Police Service (LPS) and St. Joseph's Health Care London, team up to and help human trafficking victims and any needs they may have.


Lauren Dietrich | Interrobang | News | November 27th, 2017



There is a new partnership between the London Police Service (LPS) and St. Joseph’s Health Care London to provide additional services through the Regional Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Program (RSADVTP).

The RSADVTP team has been working with the Human Trafficking Unit of the London Police to meet the needs of the victims of human trafficking.

Project Equinox was an investigation that started in October 2016 to look into the human trafficking problem in London. This resulted in the LPS recognizing that there was a need for a specialized unit in human trafficking. In March 2017, the LPS’s Human Trafficking Unit began working with St. Joseph’s Hospital to provide examination, testing, medical and psychological care for victims.

The partnership began when Dr. McNair of St. Joseph’s reached out to Det. Staff Sgt. David Poustie of the LPS Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section. She was prepared to help these victims and was willing to begin as soon as someone was in need of assistance.

Det. Mike Hay from the human trafficking unit and his partners are responsible for introducing the victim to the hospital staff and waiting for the patient to receive the treatment that they are willing to accept.

“This partnership provides victims of human trafficking quick access to medical and psychological treatment, which is essential to recovery,” Hay said.

The program helps deliver an essential service to the victims in their greatest time of need. It allows them to bypass the medical clearing process at the hospital and go directly to McNair’s clinic.

“The victims our unit deals with have experienced extended verbal, physical, psychological and sexual trauma, repeatedly, for length periods of time,” Hay added.

RSADVTP provides assessment and care for medical and physical needs, collection of forensic evidence, and a safe place for victims to share their story. However, the services that the victim receives is completely up to them and their choices are respected.

“Dr. McNair’s staff is trauma informed and they really know how to provide support to these people who have sustained such horrific experiences. Dr. McNair has shown up in the middle of the night to introduce herself to victims we have brought there,” Hay said.

The Human Trafficking Unit has taken three victims to the clinic since the partnership started earlier this year. Detective Hay discussed how each patient has received the highest level of care each time.

Fanshawe’s sexual violence prevention advisor, Leah Marshall, believes that community partnerships like these are helping to create safer spaces for survivors to access care. “It is important as a community to come together to support individuals that have experienced sexual violence and ensure that wherever victims go to seek services they will receive trauma informed care,” Marshall said.

Marshall also discussed the importance of having a seamless referral system that allows victims to have a warm transfer to begin their healing journey.

“Here at Fanshawe, we support any survivor of sexual violence and under that umbrella is human trafficking. It is important for students to know that no matter what type of sexual violence they have experienced, I am able to speak to them about what their options are,” Marshall said.

By providing the students with all of the options available, Marshall helps each victim create their own healing path that is unique to their specific needs.

Both Marshall and Hay share a common goal which is helping the victims seek supports in the easiest way possible. They both work with people in the most difficult times of their lives and that is something to be commended. For more information on the program, contact: Dahlia Reich, Communication & Public Affairs, St. Joseph’s Health Care London at 519-646-6100 ext. 65294 or at dahlia.reich@sjhc.london.ca.

Constable Sandasha Bough, Media Relations Officer, London Police Service at 519-661-5410 or at mediaofficer@police.london.ca.

For victims of human trafficking, contact Coalition Assisting Trafficked Individuals at 519-438-2272.

For on campus support, contact Leah Marshall at 1-844-666-SVPA or lkmarshall@fanshawec.ca.