IODE makes donation to hospital’s Sunrise Centre for abuse victims

October 30, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Baker

Representatives from the Lord Dufferin IODE were on hand at Headwaters Health Care Centre (HHCC) earlier this month to make a “significant” donation that hospital staff are saying will have a great impact upon some of the facility’s most vulnerable patients.

Meeting in the main foyer of the local hospital on Oct. 15, IODE members handed over approximately $1,000 worth of women’s clothing to staff from HHCC’s Sunrise Centre, the specialized on-site facility that treats victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault.

“IODE has a long history of supporting Headwaters Health Care Centre,” said long-time IODE member Barbara Moulton. “One of our members, Ronnie Ingles, was one of the founders of the Sunrise Centre, so we really wanted to do something to honour her, while also meeting a very valuable need in the community.”

Headwaters was designated as a sexual assault centre in 1990, with the Sunrise Program officially launching in 1991. According to Julia Worrall, a Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence (SADV) nurse at the hospital, the Sunrise Centre treats, on average, two or three patients per month.

“The Sunrise Program is here in the community for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse to be examined, treated and, if they wish, to provide evidence to police in a quiet, non-threatening environment,” Ms. Worrall told the Citizen. The Centre works closely with several community groups, including Family Transition Place and Dufferin Child and Family Services.

The facility boasts an examination/treatment room equipped with a bathroom and shower and a “safe room” as described by Ms. Worrall, which includes comfy furniture, computer, TV and recording materials, often used to take official statements following instances of abuse. At present, Ms. Worrall noted the facility does its best to provide full 24/7 coverage to the community.

In total, Ms. Moulton estimates IODE donated enough clothing to make up 35 full individual outfits. Items ranged from sweaters to t-shirts, pants, leggings, shorts, socks and underwear.

“It’s incredibly important that we see donations like this from the community, and it is very well received and appreciated,” said Heather Robinson, coordinator of the hospital’s SADV treatment program. “Often, when our patients come in, they have to hand over their clothes for forensic testing, but there are also situations where domestic violence has been a factor and clothing is completely ruined. It really gives women some dignity back to be able to leave in proper clothing.”

Prior to this donation, Ms. Robinson noted, standard practice was for the facility to provide hospital scrubs to patients.

“This donation will certainly go a long way,” Ms. Worrall said. “For these patients, when they open up that cupboard and they’re told they can choose anything they want to put on, you can see how moved they are that somebody cared enough to go to the trouble of donating clothing. They would make do if they had to, but the fact they don’t speaks volumes about this community. For the patients too, knowing somebody cares is huge for them in starting to feel like they have that support there after a traumatic incident.”

The IODE representatives in attendance stated their intention to continue support of the program “as and when it is needed”.

“IODE will continue with donations like this on an as-needed basis,” Ms. Moulton said. “We thought this fit in really well with our mandate. One thing I really love about IODE is that we try to do small things with great compassion.”

For more information on HHCC’s Sunrise Program, visit

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