The Hardin Memorial Health Foundation (HMHF) received a $125,000 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant from the state to expand the support and services HMH offers sexual assault victims. The grant will fund training for six additional nurses to become certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE), bringing HMH’s total to 14.
HMH 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 HMH one of only eight SANE-ready hospitals in the state.
SANE certified nurses are qualified to complete very thorough sexual assault forensic exams. Last year alone, HMH treated more than 50 victims of sexual assault, and those numbers continue to increase.
“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,” said Parker. “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 that travel often meant victims would forgo the exam and not even 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,” said Tovar.
Tovar added that the specially designed patient rooms in the HMH expanded emergency department also provide the privacy victims need and deserve.
Learn more about the grant and the SANE Program here.