Indigenous-Informed Sexual Assault Response Program

Indigenous-Informed Sexual Assault Response Program (IISARP)

The Indigenous-Informed Sexual Assault Response Program (IISARP) is committed to creating a respectful and barrier-free service for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors, guided by Indigenous-informed teachings and consultation. The primary focus is to provide emotional and practical support for all individuals that have experienced sexual assault or intimate partner violence.

Nanaimo Family Life Association (NFLA) is leading this initiative, in partnership with the First Nations Healthy Authority (FNHA) and Island Health’s Central Island Forensic Nurse Examiner Program.

Community Coordination for Domestic Safety (CCDS) committee in Nanaimo identified this crisis response as a priority for meeting the needs of our community members experiencing sexualized and physical violence. The development of a crisis response to sexualized violence in Nanaimo will enhance community capacity, build on community collaboration, and most importantly, increase consistent positive social responses for survivors.

IISARP works in collaboration with all community partners engaged in creating safety and violence-free living for us all!

Funded by the FNHA, the primary goal of the program is to improve the (cultural) safety, access, and dignity of Indigenous people who experience sexualized violence and intimate partner violence.  The program (first stage) will serve all genders and all people (13 years and older) who access the Forensic Nurse Examiner Program at the Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. IISARP seeks to offer accessible, safe, and inclusive spaces, for those experiencing sexualized and/or domestic violence.

Francine GascoyneProgram Manager, FNHA: “FNHA is honored to be a part of this very important work. Having culturally-informed and culturally-safe workers to provide supports to someone who has been sexually assaulted or experienced violence is extremely important. This resource will be vital to the person’s healing journey. The FNHA mandate is to be community-driven and Nation-based and work in partnership with our Island Nations by way of the Regional Health and Wellness Plan to meet our shared vision of ‘healthy, self-determining, vibrant BC First Nations children, families, and communities.'”

All Island Health emergency departments can provide access to a Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE) 24 hours per day*, seven days per week, addressing the medical forensic needs for survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. IISARP will respond to provide emotional and physical support when the FNE is contacted and as requested.

*24/7 response by IISARP is the current goal–responses will be limited during the initial development stages, starting July 31, 2021.

March 2021 Press Release

Deborah HollinsExecutive Director, NFLA: “Indigenous-informed services are about making spaces, programs, and organizations safer and more relevant for Indigenous people by considering current and historical colonial impact and seeking to eliminate structural racism and discrimination. When we do this work, we create better and more effective services for all people.”,

Aimee FalkenbergClinical Coordinator, Central Island Forensic Nurse Examiner Program: “Forensic Nurse Examiners provide compassionate medical forensic care to survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence for all ages and genders. This collaboration will enhance these patient examinations and make space for a holistic, culturally-safe healing journey for survivors that is consistent and individualized.”

Are You Interested in Becoming a Volunteer Responder?

If you are interested in volunteering as a responder for SARP, please follow the link below and complete our preliminary survey: SARP Survey Link 


Program Coordinator
Esther Charlie
250-327-9452/ toll-free 1-800-760-2126

Resources for Survivors

Vancouver Island Crisis Line: 1-888-494-3888
Haven Society Women’s Crisis/Emergency Shelter
Tilliculm Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Center

Hiiye’yu Lelum House of Friendship
Women Against Violence Society
Warmland Women’s Support Services Society

Port Alberni
Alberni Community & Women’s Services Society
Women’s Transition House
Port Alberni Friendship Center

Indigenous Resources
Tsow-Tun Le Lum: (Elder & Cultural Support)
KUU-US Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717
IRSSS Toll-Free Line: 1-800-721-0066
24-hOUR National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
Cedar Woman House: (Emergency Shelter)

Covid-19 Hours and Response

Our current hours of operation are Monday to Thursday, 9:00--4:00 pm.

We are open to the public on a limited basis. Only 2 people may be in the waiting room at a time. If full, please wait outside or in your car.

If you have any cold, influenza, or Covid-19 symptoms, you will not be permitted into the building.

We continue to practice social distancing. Please maintain 2 metres distance. Face masks are mandatory.

Our counselling program continues to operate, offering sessions over the phone, online, and in person. Walk-in counselling is unavailable at this time. If you are in need of counselling support, please call us at (250) 754-3331 or email Mia at

If you are an older adult, aged 65+, looking for support at this time, please visit Safe Seniors, Strong Communities website.

Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Website