The first of it’s kind in Canada, H.E.A.L.T.H. provides holistic health care to all persons, age 13 and up, who are at risk for, currently experiencing, or who have experienced sexual violence, exploitation, coercion, sex and/labour trafficking.
Along with primary and preventative health care, we provide:
Training for front line workers:
We provide a variety of training opportunities including dedicated time for healthcare professionals to work with survivors of human trafficking in a mentored and supported environment that models trauma informed, client centered, and culturally informed care.
Case Management and Peer Support:
Bilingual case management is available to help connect clients with appropriate support including peer support.
Ottawa Victim Services VQRP:
The Victim Quick Response Program Coordinator for Human Trafficking will be in the clinic one day a week to help those needing to apply for services.
We invite you to check out the H.E.A.L.T.H. website by clicking on this link
For appointment please contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 613-686-1818
Hours of Operation:
Wednesdays 10 am to 2 pm Fridays 10 am to 6 pm
604B-1 Nicholas St. Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is this kind of clinic required?
Frontline service providers are often “reluctant to engage with clients when they are suspecting violence due to knowledge deficits, time constraints, and lack of confidence that services will respond quickly and/or appropriately to the person’s needs.” (Bridging Services for Women, Ottawa, 2013) Complicated health care needs that are rooted in trauma are not properly assessed or managed within ER’s or walk in clinics which is where most HT survivors access health care.
One trafficking victim can take the same amount of the provider’s time as 20 domestic violence victims. (Clawson, H.; Small, K.; Go, E.; Myles, B. Needs assessment for service providers of trafficking victims. Fairfax, VA: Caliber; 2003.)
Because most victims do not have timely access to health care, by the time they reach a clinician it is likely that health problems are well advanced. Commonly it is the overt symptoms that are managed and the underlying root of trauma is not captured leaving the survivor of HT at risk for future violence and long term health consequence.
Those who are trafficked are at high risk for acquiring multiple sexually transmitted infections. For those with a uterus the sequelae of multiple forced and unsafe abortions results in chronic pain, future infertility, and profound psychological trauma. Physical abuse and torture often occur, which can result in broken bones, contusions, dental problems (e.g., loss of teeth), and/or cigarette burns.
Psychological violence results in high rates of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, suicidal ideation, drug addiction, and a multitude of somatic symptoms. When providers were asked in one study about their experiences working with victims of trafficking, they reported that these victims are less stable, more isolated, have higher levels of fear, more severe trauma, and greater mental health needs than other victims of crime.
What about safety of clients and staff?
We operate with strict safety protocols.
What are the hours of operation for HEALTH?
The clinic is open 2 days a week. Wednesdays from 10 am to 2 pm and Fridays 10 am to 6 pm. The clinic is appointment based.
Who is the Nurse Practitioner?
Tara Leach is a Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (PHC-NP) and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. Tara’s experience in Health Care began as an emergency room nurse, and this role led her to emergency rooms in Ottawa, Boston, New York and Philadelphia (to name a few). Over the past 15 years, Tara has concentrated her career on adults and adolescent victims of personal trauma.
Tara has been a member of the Ontario Network Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Treatment Centers (SADVTC) since 2003 and is currently the clinical lead for the Ottawa SADVTC program as a front line worker. In her current role, Tara is responsible for the medical/forensic needs of those who have been victims of sexual violence, reproductive coercion, and partner violence. Additionally, Tara Leach is a part-time professor for the Victimology program at Algonquin College.
Tara has participated in an advisory capacity on projects funded by the Ontario Women’s Directorate. Examples of such projects are:
- Recognizing and responding to the common but “misunderstood” sequela of Sexual Assault (in current review).
- Addressing past sexual assault in clinical settings
- Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) Guidelines for Care of persons who have been Sexual Assaulted
Additional advisory projects include
- Competency development of Elder Abuse Nurse Examiner Curricula to enhance care delivery for Ontario Network SADVTC.
- Competency development for health care providers working with victims of Human Trafficking (HEAL)
At the provincial level, Tara Leach is a trainer for the provincial network’s Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) training. Tara was also a key contributor to the 2016-2017 revision of the SANE curricula for the Ontario Network. She is currently the co-chair for the Provincial Network Nursing Committee.
Tara has presented locally, nationally and internationally on various topics related to intentional violence of persons.
What about other programs in the city that seem similar?
There will be no forensic evidence collection completed at this clinic. The HEALTH clinic is primary care focused to allow for comprehensive, preventative health care for clients.
Funding for this project has been made available through Ontario Ministry Of Community and Social Services, Anti-Human Trafficking Office.