Helping victims of sexual assault is a tricky business. If evidence is not collected properly, it can be thrown out in court. If the victim is not treated properly, they might never want to prosecute the case. Hospitals across Illinois are taking steps to improve this process, and ensure victims are always comfortable with the care they will receive at the hospital.
One way or another, every hospital in Illinois has to be prepared for victims of sexual assault to visit their ER. For some, trained SANE nurses or SAFE physicians are always at the ready. For many other hospitals, they have to have plans in place to transfer patients to other hospitals that do have specially-trained staff. The role of these individuals is to devote their attention 100% to the victim, to put them at ease, and ensure the hospital experience does not add to the trauma. They are there for support through the entire experience, and beyond.
Most importantly, SANE nurses and SAFE physicians know how to appropriately and meticulously collect evidence, ensuring it meets legal requirements and will hold up in court, if needed. They know the legal process and all of the important steps along the way, whether a victim of sexual assault decides to prosecute or not.
In our latest episode, Perry's SANE coordinators, Erika Dalrymple and Kim Morse, join the discussion, along with Dr. Scott Cooper, Emergency Physician and member of the SASETA task force.