For crisis intervention or mental distress: Provincial Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line:

For Confidential support to post-secondary students in Nova Scotia:
Good2Talk: 1-833-292-3698
or text GOOD2TALKNS to 686868

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program for the Halifax area:

Get toll-free numbers for other Nova Scotia regions


If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

Get Help Now

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What does “complainant” mean?

  • The word “complainant” is sometimes used instead of “victim” or “survivor” in legal or policy contexts. For example, the word “complainant” may appear in investigations conducted under university SV/SA policies, police investigations, or trials.
  • Where this word appears in university sexual assault policies, it applies to the person who files a report for investigation about a sexual assault.

What is the difference between a “complainant” and a “victim/survivor”?

  • The word “complainant” can be perceived as more neutral than “victim” or “survivor,” as it does not assume that a report of sexual assault is true or false. This word works well in legal contexts where procedural fairness is required.
  • The words “victim” or “survivor” are used to describe a person who has experienced sexual assault. These words:
    • Emphasize believing the person who tells you about a sexual assault they have experienced
    • Work well for service providers and other members of the community providing supports for people who have experienced sexual assault
  • It is best to use the term that the person who has experienced sexual violence prefers.
  • For more information, see our definition of “victim/survivor.”