New Committment to Help Sexual Assault Victims
Lexington Medical Center is pleased to announce its participation in the new Lexington County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), a collaboration of county health care workers, law enforcement officers and sexual assault prevention advocates working together to help sexual assault victims receive the help they need in the best way possible.
Lexington Medical Center held a news conference about the new agreement on Wednesday, September 29th.
Lexington Medical Center’s participation in the program guarantees that when a victim of sexual assault comes to the hospital’s Emergency Department, the victim will be examined by a Forensic Nurse Examiner (FNE), a nurse who has special training in the collection of forensic and physical evidence in cases of sexual assault. The Forensic Nurse Examiner will be a member of the SART team. In addition to the Forensic Nurse Examiner, a counselor from Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands and law enforcement officers will arrive.
Forensic Nurse Examiners are considered experts in their field and in courtroom testimony during sexual assault hearings and trials. And, according to Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, cases with FNE nurses have an 80% guilty plea rate by attackers, demonstrating the important impact of a FNE nurse’s evidence collection and testimony.
As part of the program, Lexington Medical Center will also hire one full time Forensic Nurse Examiner to work at our hospital and be available to be dispatched to examine sexual assault victims at other hospitals in the Midlands when needed through the SART program.
“This is an outstanding example of many agencies coming together to benefit the citizens of our collective community,” said Barbara Willm, vice president of Community Outreach at Lexington Medical Center. “This program insures that all victims will receive the same standard of care and that care will begin at the earliest possible time.”
Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands responded to 97 calls of sexual assault victims brought to Lexington Medical Center in fiscal year 2009. In addition, Lexington Medical Center operates the second busiest Emergency Department in South Carolina, treating more than 90,000 patients each year.
Advocates and law enforcement leaders from around the county signed a memorandum of agreement for the SART team during the news conference.