Island Health has about 70 forensic nurse examiners.

They work on-call to care for people of all genders and ages who have experienced sexual assault or domestic violence and now they will be working in Ladysmith.

They are now available to support patients at the Ladysmith Urgent Care Centre between 7:30 and 5:30, seven days a week.

Forensic Nurse Examiner, Aimee Falkenberg said having the service available in Ladysmith reduces barriers to health needs and patient support.

“We do see 300 plus patients a year and on average, those patients, once they’ve received care from a forensic nurse examiner we rarely ever not get a hug from our patients when they’ve walked out of the door after they have received care from us.”

Falkenberg said the program is a popular one for victims because it takes them out of the noisy and busy surroundings of an emergency room.

“To really have that opportunity to share with somebody rather than having to share with several people something that’s happened to them and it’s their worst day ever. To have a nurse that’s able to sit and spend that time with them, I think is, one step in the movement for that patient to feel like someone is actually there, listening to them.”

Outside of the hours of 7:30 to 5:30, survivors will have to travel to the emergency departments at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital or the Cowichan District Hospital.