Sexual Behaviour in Canada: Patterns and Problems

By Benjamin Schlesinger | Go to book overview

The establishment of a rape crisis centre *

G. ERLICK ROBINSON, JAMES OLDHAM AND MARLAINA SNIDERMAN

From 1967 to 1973 there was a 76 per cent increase in the number of reported rapes occurring in Metro Toronto. Some authorities estimate that ten times as many are not reported to the police. The woman who complains of rape must then undergo examinations, interrogations and finally a court process which may prolong the original trauma. The other woman who does not complain may have to resolve her feelings about this incident alone and forgo even medical attention. Feeling the need in this community to provide a service to aid these assaulted women, the Community Psychiatry Team of the Toronto General Hospital decided to organize a Rape Crisis Centre.

The basic component of this centre consists of a group of volunteers operating a 24-hour telephone answering service. Volunteers are sent out to pick up any victim of an attack and take her to the Toronto General Hospital. The hospital provides a smoothly running program whereby the woman can be checked by family practice physicians and give specimens, be seen by the psychiatry resident to assess mental status and questioned by the police in a setting a little less intimidating than a police station. The volunteers remain in touch with the woman, with consultations with the Community Psychiatry Team, for as long as needed; they accompany her to court. The other aims of the Centre include extensive research of the rape victim, the rapist and the crime itself, together with education of the public regarding understanding and decreasing the incidence of this crime.

A group of about 40 women volunteers were assembled. Educational sessions with the police, lawyers, gynecologists and the Community Psychiatry Team

____________________
*
Reprinted from Canada's Mental Health Vol. 23, No. 5 ( September 1975), 10-12.

-195-

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