Source: The News-Enterprise
The Hardin Memorial Health Foundation received a $125,000 Victims of Crime Act grant from the state to expand the support and services Hardin Memorial Hospital offers sexual assault victims, according to a foundation news release.
The grant will pay for training for six additional nurses to become certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, bringing HMH’s total to 14.
Assistant Vice President for Emergency Services Deanna Parker said the training will allow HMH to provide trained nurses ready to help victims 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it one of only eight SANE-ready hospitals in the state.
SANE-certified nurses are qualified to complete thorough sexual assault forensic exams. Last year, HMH treated more than 50 victims of sexual assault, and those numbers continue to increase, according to the release.
“It is unfortunate that we need this type of care, but we are so glad that we can offer these specially trained nurses to victims here close to their homes,” Parker said. “Before HMH had a SANE program, victims had to travel to Louisville for a comprehensive exam.”
HMH registered nurse and SANE program manager Sarah Tovar said travel often meant victims would forgo the exam and not report the sexual assault to law enforcement. Research indicates more than 70 percent of sexual assaults are not reported.
“Effective, thorough and timely exams aid in the successful prosecution of perpetrators,” Tovar said.
She said specially designed patient rooms in the hospital’s emergency department also provide privacy victims need.
The grant allows the hospital to expand community education and awareness and its work leading a 10-county region Sexual Assault Response Team, one of only a few in the state, the release said. The team is comprised of law enforcement, prosecutors, medical/forensic and representatives from Silverleaf Sexual Trauma Recovery Services, a local advocacy agency.
“Fostering collaboration and teamwork among these support agencies is critical in aiding victims of sexual assault,” Parker said. “HMH is proud to provide this leadership.”
Hardin Memorial Health Foundation Board Chairman Joe Prather said the foundation is pleased it can help expand SANE services.
“Achieving SANE-ready status is a game- changing step forward for the patients who need these services, and we couldn’t be happier to support such a worthy endeavor,” he said in the release.
This is the second consecutive year the HMH foundation has received a Victims of Crime Act grant for a combined $235,000.