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Victim Services, Inc., has announced that a grant by the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies will assist in the training of three new Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs). A SANE is a nurse specially trained in the collection of forensic evidence following a sexual assault. The SANE works with victim advocates and criminal justice professionals to ensure sexual assault victims receive a timely, sensitive, and coordinated response in the aftermath of the crime.

In emergency departments where SANEs are trained and utilized, they are called in on a case by case basis and respond within an hour to provide the examination. This allows medical staff to respond to other patients and prevents victims from having to wait for hours to be seen. Rather than an experience that used to take 5-8 hours without a SANE, the victim is now typically finished in 3 hours and is able to get some much needed rest in the safety of their home or the home of a loved one. SANEs are trained in the unique needs of victims of sexual assault and provide sensitive and supportive interactions along with the victim advocate. SANEs are trained in evidence collection procedures and maintain the integrity of any forensic evidence throughout the examination and during transfer to the appropriate law enforcement agency.

According to Erika Brosig, Supervisor of Direct Services at Victim Services and Cambria County SART Coordinator, “Having SANEs in our communities has had a tremendous impact on the care victims receive in the aftermath of a sexual assault.  Victims feel more cared for, more empowered, and more supported when they’re treated by a medical professional who has the training and the level of compassion displayed every day by our SANEs. As advocates, we are truly grateful for them.  And we are so grateful to the Community Foundation for giving us the opportunity to expand on this program in Cambria County.”

There are currently six SANEs trained and utilized at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, one at Miner’s Medical Center, and two at Somerset Hospital. This grant will support the training of two additional nurses, Rosie Marinkovich from Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center and Jennifer Gipe from Windber Medical Center, who began training at the end of February through Duquesne University. Another nurse from Somerset County will be trained in June 2014.

Tracey Cook, Victims Compensation Coordinator at Victim Services and Somerset County SART coordinator also extends her appreciation to the Community Foundation for their support.  “This will allow us to include Windber Medical Center in providing quality care to sexual assault victims. We welcome Jennifer and thank her for her commitment to providing those services.”

For more information on this program, please contact Erika Brosig at Victim Services.

Posted on March 30, 2014 at 11:06 AM by Angie Berzonski

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