Every person who has been sexually assaulted deserves access to care and the collection of forensic evidence no matter where they live. Sexual assault survivors in rural and remote Alberta often need to travel significant distances to access a forensic exam.

This project will increase the number of health-care providers in rural areas that are trained in providing sexual assault evidence kits. It will be piloted with a group of health-care providers across rural Alberta, in communities that need it the most, and will include grants for health-care providers to ensure they are able to access this training free of charge.  

Increased access to evidence collection empowers sexual assault survivors with the option to report crimes committed against them.

"It’s time to work together to close the gap and make sure all sexual assault survivors in Alberta have access to evidence collection, regardless of where an assault occurs. We need to continue to step up and show up for survivors of sexual assault."

Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, Associate Minister of Status of Women

"At six per cent, sexual violence has the lowest police reporting rate of any crime in Canada and so, when a survivor chooses to reach out for help, it is imperative the care they receive is specialized and trauma informed. Training rural health-care providers will increase their comfort and skill to perform these procedures, preventing survivors from having to travel out of their home communities to get care."

Deb Tomlinson, CEO, Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services

"Health-care providers can be the first point of contact after a sexual assault, their increased knowledge and skill will be crucial in a survivor’s healing journey. By increasing the number of rural health professionals trained in supporting sexual assault survivors, we create options and access for our rural and remote residents.”

Lisa Watson, executive director, Odyssey House

“The City of Grande Prairie is thankful for the new investment from the Government of Alberta in supporting sexual assault survivors in communities across the province. This new announcement is a milestone for ensuring equitable access to care and justice. We look forward to this new training contributing to our inclusive and caring community here in Grande Prairie.”

Jackie Clayton, mayor, City of Grande Prairie

Quick facts

  • Sexual violence crimes have the lowest reporting rate among violent crimes in Canada.

    • It is estimated that only six per cent of these crimes are ever reported to police.

    • At the same time, these crimes have a low conviction rate of just 0.3 per cent.

  • According to a 2020 Association of Alberta Sexual Assault Services Prevalence Study:

    • 43 per cent of the 1,500 Albertans surveyed indicated they had experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. This equates to 1.8 million people, almost one out of every two Albertans.

    • Only 66 per cent of parents say they are comfortable talking about girls' and women's bodies, health and wellness.

  • According to Statistics Canada:

    • The rate of police-reported sexual assault in Canada has reached its highest level since 1996.

    • In Alberta, the rate of reported sexual assault jumped 21 per cent last year.