Nurse Specialists Aid Rape Victims

By: Shannon Brinias Email
By: Shannon Brinias Email

Nationwide, the FBI says rape statistics show a drop in 2007 of 4.3%, compared to the year before. But victim advocates say don't let that decrease fool you. In El Paso county, the numbers of forcible rapes are double the rate in the state as a whole. But there is a program here to help.

It's called the Forensic Nurse Examiner Team, and Valerie Sievers heads it up at Memorial Hospital. Sievers says it's made up of a core group of specially-trained nurses who can respond in cases of sexual violence, sexual assault and abuse.

When police respond to certain crimes, identifying a victim is obvious. But the victims of sexual assault often come to the authorities' attention in less obvious ways. Sometimes, they won't self-identify as a possible victim. Other times, they are children, too young to describe what has happened to them.

At Memorial Hospital, suspected victims are brought to a specially-designed examination room. The room has been designed for comfort, to ease the emotional trauma and shock many sex assault victims are experiencing. It's also set aside from the hospital's regular emergency room, so that the nurse examiners can provide treatment, gather information and evidence in a more private setting.

The program relies on government programs and grants. But funding is always an issue, especially with the effort to expand more resources into rural areas.

Tonight (Friday), there will be a fund-raising event to aid the Forensic Nurse Examiners Team and SANE, which stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. The 6th Annual Wine and Microwbrew Tasting is being held from 5-8 pm at the Warehouse, at 25 West Cimarron. Tickets are $30 before the event, and $35 at the door. KKTV 11 News Anchor Shannon Brinias and KKTV 11 News Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe will be helping out with hosting duties.

For more information, click on the link below. You can also call (719) 365-8666.

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