For Immediate Release
1 February, 2023
NDP MHA for Torngat Mountains, Lela Evans, is calling on government and Minister Pam Parsons to take immediate action to hire a provincial co-ordinator for the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program and expedite expansion across all areas of the province. There is still no trained SANE nurse available in Labrador Grenfell or Central Health two years after the Minister of Women and Gender Equality made funding promises in 2021.
“It was the women’s advocacy groups, those who are on the front lines dealing with these issues, who wrote this Liberal government in 2020 calling for the co-ordinator position to be filled and to expand access to this vital program. The fact that nothing has been done is very alarming to me,” said Evans. “If the Minister will not listen to solid advice on what is needed to address the harm caused by sexual violence then what is the purpose of her department and her position? It shouldn’t be all fluff and colourful words. Take action, make a difference! We can’t allow this government to continue to ignore the lack of supports for sexual violence survivors.”
“While women go unsupported, the Minister of Women and Gender Equality has used the pandemic as an excuse and recently said the issue is the responsibility of other Ministers. This is a significant health issue largely affecting women.” said Evans. “When you are a victim of sexual assault, it is very traumatic and life-changing. It is extremely important that you have a timely access to a safe, and trusting place to get the care you need. That’s how we combat the stigma around sexual assault, by ensuring survivors are properly supported. Minister Parsons needs to do whatever it takes to make sure this position is filled.”
In areas of the province where a SANE nurse is not available, the RNC or RCMP conducts examinations. Evans says this is problematic because if often creates barriers to health care and justice for many women, especially those in Indigenous communities experiencing intergenerational trauma.
“Only having the RNC or RCMP be available to examine victims of sexual assault is creating more anxiety and trauma for many victims,” said Evans. “The Minister says that she understands that the statistics are shocking, and that this is certainly a crisis. However, other than fluffy words and funding announcements, no work has been done to give victims of sexual assault in Labrador and Central Health region access to this vital service. This is a clear failure of this government.”
For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or email@example.com