Hamilton Health Sciences
Sexual Assault / Domestic Violence Care Centre

Counselling Services

There is no right or wrong way to feel after an assault. Some people experience reactions directly after the assault, while others may have reactions days, weeks, or months later. These reactions can be overwhelming and may interfere with your everyday life. Some of the normal reactions that you may experience are:

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Betrayal
  • Grief
  • Helplessness
  • Numbness
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Changes in your sleeping pattern
  • Changes in your sex drive
  • Not able to concentrate
  • Unable to stop thinking about the assault
  • Feeling like nobody understands
  • Lacking confidence
  • Not feeling like yourself

 During this time, caring for yourself is really important.

  • Try to eat healthy food to help keep up your strength
  • Try to keep doing the things that make you feel good
  • Know your rights and know how to get the help you need
  • Say positive things to yourself to restore your sense of well-being, like “I am strong”, “I did not deserve this”, “I am taking back my personal power”, “I am healing each and every day.”
  • Be patient with yourself. It takes time to recover.
  • Believe in yourself and know that you will get through this.

 You do not have to recover on your own. There is support available to you.

 Please contact us if you would like to come a see one of our counsellors.

Here are some common questions about counselling:

What should I expect?

Counselling is focused on healing from trauma, and you are in charge of your healing process. Your counsellor has knowledge, expertise, and skills to help you manage and/or resolve feelings related to sexual assault, but only with the understanding that you are the expert in your life. Counselling can move as quickly or as slowly as you would like. You are in control of your counselling sessions.   

How long can I come for counselling?

Counselling at the SA/DVCC is short-term, which means that you could come for counselling on an on-going basis for weeks or months (as oppose to years). Some people come for 1 session, while others come for 12 or 24 sessions. You will find the number of sessions that works for you and your counsellor.

How much does it cost?

Counselling is free! (Covered by OHIP)

Can you explain confidentiality?

What you talk about with your counsellor is confidential - this means that it stays between you and your counsellor. Even the charts are done separately, so that other health care professionals outside of the SA/DVCC will not have access to information related to the sexual assault. You would need to request the access of the SA/DVCC charts to another health care professional, and you would need to sign a consent for your counsellor to speak with another professional or family member on your behalf.

There are 3 exceptions to the confidentiality that you have with your counsellor.

1. If your counsellor feels you are at immediate risk to commit suicide or commit a violent act against another person.

2. If you disclose information that a child under 16 years of age is at risk of abuse or neglect.

3. If the SA/DVCC receives a subpoena to release information to an attorney (if you are involved in legal proceedings).




Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

Disclaimer: Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) offers Google Translate to better facilitate access for our community. However, HHS makes no claims regarding the accuracy of translations. Any and all health information should be verified by a health care professional.