April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
How frightened would you be if you were the victim of a sexual assault and then had to give evidence to a total stranger in an emergency room?
Jackson-Madison County General Hospital has a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) Program that helps hundreds of women and men get through what could be the worst day of their lives. This program includes 15 nurses who are specially trained to collect swabs of evidence, collect clothing and get assistance for victims.
These nurses volunteer to be a part of the program and there is always a SANE nurse available. Molly Britt, RN, BSN, CEN, SANE-A, NREMT, is one of the SANE nurses. She says the program includes a special waiting area in the Emergency Room so that victims can have privacy. They are given access to extra clothes, personal hygiene products and most importantly a nurse to talk to. Every victim has a dedicated SANE nurse who can gather evidence in a rape kit and give this kit to police to hold until the victim decides if they want to press charges.
Britt says hundreds of these kits are processed in a crime lab every year and the program has existed here for more than ten years. “Every SANE nurse has to complete 40 hours of training by the Jackson Police Department. We want every victim who comes through our doors to feel like they are not alone and we will stand beside them and help them any way we can,” says Britt.