LEWISBURG — November was the month when the community provided special recognition of the tireless and dedicated work of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE).
Evangelical Community Hospital was Pennsylvania’s first hospital to offer forensic examinations when sexual assaults occur. Transitions worked closely with Darlene Rowe, a now retired nurse, who began the program 25 years ago. Most of the victims that they examine and collect evidence from are residents of Union, Snyder, or Northumberland counties.
When a victim of rape or sexual assault enters the emergency department, they are shown to a comfortable and private waiting room. Then, they are brought to a specialized treatment area which includes an exam room, interview room, and bathroom with a shower. This space offers privacy and security. In addition to being with the nurse examiner, an advocate from Transitions is present for victims throughout the process to offer support, information, and services. An enduring bond exists between Evangelical’s SANE Program and Transitions.
Susan Mathias, chief executive officer, described Transitions and the hospital as “integral to the coordinated community response to sexual assault victims. Evangelical Community Hospital provides a safe space to collect evidence so perpetrators can be held accountable.”
In addition to collecting evidence for possible use in a criminal case, SANEs are called to testify at times. These are the ways their forensic skill is used in the criminal justice system to be patient advocates.
Transitions is the Comprehensive Crime Victim Services Center serving victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking in Union, Snyder and Northumberland counties. Contact Transitions through its 24-hour hotline at 800-850-7948 or www.transitionsofpa.org.