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Stevens Urging Health Minister to Address Reports of Sexual Assault Survivors Turned Away From Niagara Health

Some survivors reportedly asked to seek help in Burlington or Hamilton.

St. Catharines MPP Jennie Stevens is asking the province's Ministry of Health to respond to reports of Niagara Health turning away sexual assault survivors. 

Last week, a report from the Niagara Sexual Assault Centre was released, suggesting that the St. Catharines Sexual Assault Domestic Violence unit only has staff to treat survivors about 50 percent of the time. 

Niagara Health responded by saying that due to staffing pressures, there have been times when patients have been asked to travel to Hamilton or Burlington to receive care. 

In a letter to Health Minister Sylvia Jones, Stevens and MPP Jill Andrews, who is the Official Opposition Critic for Women’s Social and Economic Opportunity, is asking the province to take steps to prevent this from happening throughout the province. 

"Ontarians deserve answers and assurances," the letter reads. "They need to know: are survivors being turned way from other hospitals in Ontario? What are you doing to stop survivors from being turned away from the hospital in St. Catharines, and anywhere else in the province where this is happening?"

The MPPs are urging the province to repeal Bill 124, a law that caps wage bumps at one percent a year for three years. 

Stevens and Andrew say getting rid of the bill will help attract, retain and return nurses to the health care sector, easing staffing pressures. 

The pair is also asking the province to restore funding to sexual assault crisis centres and provide a 30 percent increase to the sector. 


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