Sexual assault

Have you been sexually assaulted? Know someone who has? There is help and the survivor has options for what happens next.

The Sexual Assault Response Team at the Health Sciences Centre Emergency is a critical first step in getting medical & emotional care.

SART includes specially trained nurses, sexual assault crisis workers from Klinic Community Health and investigators from the Winnipeg Police Service.

The level of care you receive and whether or not you make a police report is your choice.

If you’re unsure about where to get medical attention, would like to talk about your options or want to talk to a counsellor, please call the Sexual Assault Crisis Program Line 24/7:

  • 204-786-8631
  • 1-800-292-7565

It's not your fault, and you are not alone.

What should a person do after a sexual assault?

To report a sexual assault, call 9-1-1 in emergency situations or 204-986-6222 for non-emergency situations. To speak to a detective from the Sex Crimes Unit in confidence, call 204-986-6245.

Victims of sexual assault are encouraged to attend the Health Sciences Centre where a formal sexual assault protocol exam program is in place to help you during this difficult time. You can, however, attend any hospital emergency room for assistance if it is a medical emergency.

To help the police gather evidence, do not:

  • shower or bathe;
  • change or throw away your clothes;
  • wash your hands or comb your hair;
  • brush your teeth;
  • smoke;
  • chew gum;
  • take any drugs or alcohol;
  • disturb the area of the occurrence.

Tell the police or hospital staff immediately if you think you may have been drugged by a date-rape or other intoxicating substances. Testing for drugs requires a urine sample within approximately 12 hours after the drugs were taken, or the toxins are naturally flushed from your system.

There is no time limit for reporting and laying charges for a sexual assault. But in any case, the sooner you call the police, the easier it is for them to collect the evidence needed to prove the charge.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Program

The Health Science Centre Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program recently expanded to provide support to adult and adolescent patients who self-disclose as a victim of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).  A team of specially trained nurses will meet with you to discuss options, provide medical care, help report to police and collect forensic evidence if you choose. They will give you resources and connect  you with follow up resources if you wish as well..

The IPV window is 10 days from the time of the incident and examinations will be performed for those patients with any physical or sexual assault, including strangulation.  A victim may attend to HSC on their own or in the company of Police to have an exam completed.

Proceeding with a police investigation

If you choose to proceed with a police investigation, detectives may meet you at the Health Sciences Centre and interview you regarding your incident. The interview will be videotaped and may be used for court purposes.

The police investigation is conducted by a team of professionals and volunteers specially trained to handle sexual assaults and provide support to victims. This team includes:

  • Detectives from the Sex Crimes Unit (both male and female)
  • Specially trained nurses (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners)
  • Trained Klinic volunteers for counseling
  • Follow-up assistance from Victim Services Unit

The Sex Crimes Unit is available to you throughout the entire investigation. The Victim Services Unit contacts you, in confidence, to suggest counseling services and a variety of other services that may help you get through this difficult time.


In certain cases, the police must become involved, even if a victim chooses not to proceed with a police investigation. Those exceptions occur when:

  • The offender is an intimate or domestic partner. The Winnipeg Police Services policy on domestic violence requires police to proceed with the investigation if there are reasonable grounds to believe the victim was assaulted by a domestic partner.
  • The sexual assault involved a child under 14 years old.

Third party reporting of sexual assault offences

The Winnipeg Police Service, in partnership with Klinic Community Health CentreHeart Medicine Lodge (Ka Ni Kanichihk) and Sage House (Mount Carmel Clinic) is pleased to announce the development of a new protocol in the City of Winnipeg for survivors of sexual abuse. Third Party Reporting offers survivors the option of reporting the details of their case anonymously to the WPS through a third-party community-based victim services agency.

Online dating crime prevention tips

  • Consider using a credible online dating site; most require a user fee.
  • Do some research; thoroughly vet the sites you plan to use.
  • Never disclose private information on online dating sites.
  • Check the name of the person you are meeting through an online search engine.
  • Be aware of personal risks. Initial meetings should be in a public place.
  • Do not meet someone alone or at the very least, tell a friend or family member about whom and where you are meeting, including the person’s contact information and a screenshot of the ad.
  • Set up a safety check-in with someone you trust for after your meeting.
  • Be wary of requests for money.
  • Follow your instincts - if something feels wrong, it probably is.


What is grooming?

Grooming is when a perpetrator engages in predatory conduct to eventually establish a sexual relationship with a young athlete.

Grooming is a gradual process.

The perpetrator will strike up a close friendship by establishing an emotional connection, trust and finding opportunities to test the athlete out for secrecy and reliability. Conversation by text is used more-so now at the start of grooming.

Once this close friendship and trust is built, the perpetrator continues to make the athlete feel special, giving them rides home, buying them gifts, clothing, slurpee’s, having sleepovers, spending extra time with the player compared to others and then begins to bargain, saying things like “you have to do this for me because I have done that for you”.

The perpetrator will also provide the player with a “cool space” to hang out, provide them with drugs and alcohol, even let them watch pornography.
This behavior is a repetitive trait of grooming.

The perpetrator will start to then develop isolation and control. For example, getting the athlete to rely on them instead of their parent(s), preventing access to friendships with other players or support systems.  The perpetrator may also check the athlete’s commitment through questioning and setting small tests.

The final stage is where the perpetrator will initiate acts of sexual behaviors such as crossing verbal boundaries. If the athlete objects to sexual touching for example, the perpetrator will state, “you didn’t mind last time” making the athlete feel trapped or even guilty.

The perpetrator may also invoke co-operation by saying “you owe me, it’s the least you can do” and even make threats like “if you tell anyone I’ll hurt you or drop you from the team” Creating fear in the athlete as the coach has influence on their career.

These types of behaviors or characteristics are red flags of grooming.

If at any time an individual feels uncomfortable in a situation, they need to know that there is help available and many resources that offer support. And most importantly it’s not your fault.

Safe sport examples for athletes

Resources and help

Athletes should feel comfortable challenging inappropriate behavior by others and know that they can go to any trusted adult or teammate if they are ever feeling uncomfortable. Athletes who experience sexual abuse need to understand that they should not feel ashamed or guilty because what happened to them is not their fault; adults should know better, period.

There is help, support options and counselling available to those who have experienced sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse is a painful and difficult experience to disclose, sexual abuse can be reported to Police, or a third party.

Speaking to someone anonymously over the phone is also an option; there are resources available 24/7 such as Klinic’s Sexual Assault Crisis Line.

Winnipeg Police Service
Safe Sport Line
Sport Manitoba
Klinic Community Health (Sexual Assault Crisis Program
Knowles Centre
Sage House
Manitoba Child Family Services
Canadian Center for Child Protection

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