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Because your voice matters.

Member, Expert Advisory Committee, Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) Program



Commitment: Long-term

Connection method: Virtual

Open to Provincial Region


Volunteer Opportunity
Interior Health is developing a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) Program that will be initiated through the emergency departments at all sites. Help ensure this program meets the needs of all patients.


Lead Organization/Department
Interior Health Emergency Services Network

This committee will implement a regional, evidence-informed program for patients that present to Interior Health emergency departments after a sexual assault. We want to ensure this program meets their needs. The patient partners would participate in bi-monthly meetings where processes, procedures, referral options and education will be discussed. Patient partners will collaborate with all committee members and share their thoughts on all aspects of this work. We would also welcome patient partners to meet once or twice more to look at educational resources that will be used in the waiting rooms to ensure they are what a patient would want to see.

Level of Engagement
This opportunity is at the level of collaborate on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that the health care partner will work together with you to formulate solutions and incorporate your advice and recommendations into the decisions to the maximum extent possible.

• Open to patient partners from: Across the Province of BC.
• Familiar with virtual meetings.
• Experience as a patient or family member accessing services in the emergency department.
• Some familiarity with the topic of sexual assault would be an asset but not required.
• Patient partners give a lot of themselves: time, energy, and the sharing of personal stories or experiences that may be difficult. It is important that this not be done at the expense of your own health/wellbeing. There is a potential risk that patient partners may face emotional distress through reflecting on and sharing their experiences.   With this in mind, we ask that you only consider participating if you feel it would be safe and comfortable for you to do so.
• Please note:
– This opportunity is not open to staff members or patient partners who are currently employed by this health authority.
– As connection and relationship building is important, we may like to meet with short listed patient partners as part of our selection process in an informal interview between the patient partner and the health care partner.
– Applicants must have previously attended a PVN orientation session and completed the Patient Partner Commitments form. If you have not attended an orientation session but you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Charmaine Niebergall directly to see if accommodations may be possible.
– As required by the October 14, 2021 Public Health Order released by the Provincial Health Officer, proof of vaccination is required to access any in-person meetings at a health care site. Proof of vaccination can be provided by way of a Vaccination Passport or Vaccination card, along with government issued photo ID. For patient partnership activities that are virtual only (via Zoom, video conference, phone, etc.), proof of vaccination is not required.

• Number of vacancies: 2
• Date/Time:
– 2nd Wednesday of the month
– 1:00pm – 2:30pm (1.5 hours)
– Meetings beginning in November.
• Location: Virtually using MS Teams
• Commitment:
– One year term with a possibility of extension
– Bi-monthly meetings of 1.5 hours long
– Potential for additional meetings to review educational materials.

No out-of-pocket expenses are anticipated for this engagement opportunity. However, if you meet the eligibility criteria but have concerns about your ability to participate, please contact Charmaine Niebergall to see if support options are available. We are always seeking to better understand and reduce barriers to participation.

There is a Ministry of Health Mandate to provide sexual assault response services within every emergency department in BC. Interior Health is creating a program to meet these needs.

This work is being led in partnership by the Emergency Services Network (ESN) and the Maternal, Newborn, Child and Youth (MNCY) Networks.  The networks are a group of experienced staff members with clinical expertise within their network such as nurses, physicians, directors, and administrative staff who work at bringing evidence informed, best practice to the front-line clinical staff.  With the Ministry of Health mandate coming, we have been tasked with ensuring a Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) program is implemented in every emergency in Interior Health.   Our commitment is that this is an evidence informed, best practice program that meets the needs of the community members that the emergency department supports.

We recognize this can be a triggering topic, these meetings will be a safe place to discuss ideas, strategies, processes and tactics that will hopefully improve the program.  Members of the Expert Advisory Committee will include the SAFE program leadership, pediatricians, current SAFE examiners, ED nurses and physicians, Interior Health leadership, law enforcement, social work, aboriginal partners, pharmacy and patient partners.  The SAFE program leader will be available to the patient partners to answer any questions or clarify any topics that the patient may want to discuss either during the meeting or at an alternate time to help aid their understanding of the program.

Please see our terms of reference here.

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Charmaine Niebergall Engagement Leader, Patient and Public Engagement | Vancouver Island Region 778-700-2064

From Our Community

Nancy J. Wood

Patient Partner, Sidney

Nancy J. Wood

I was thrilled to discover the Patient Voices Network, where the array of places to be the voice of a patient is vast and incredibly interesting. Besides my ongoing “gig” with the BC Emergency Medicine Network, I have enjoyed being involved in several one-off initiatives. I love working with professionals who genuinely value the perspectives of their patient partners.