NPR recently provided great coverage of the services DC offers to survivors of sexual assault, calling it “one of the most comprehensive sexual assault survivor programs in the nation.” DCFNE’s medical director and nursing director were both interviewed. Listen to the story or read all about it here.
Thank you to everyone who supported and attended the DC Forensic Nurses’ first annual gala! We all had a great time and we raised over $41,500. These funds will go toward a private exam room for our patients. Please mark your calendars for next year’s gala on October 24, 2015. Photos from the event are here.
On the last day of Forensic Nurses Week, we want to make sure you know where to find resources for forensic nursing here in our DC community and all over the world. Check out the DC Forensic Nurse Examiners website to learn about what forensic nurses in DC do. And check out the excellent resources the International Association of Forensic Nurse Examiners provided for Forensic Nurses Week, including a comprehensive FAQ. If you’re a forensic nurse, today is a great day to make sure people in your community know how you assist victims of crime! If you know a forensic nurse, thank her or him today!
Last Saturday we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Violence Against Women Act. This historic piece of legislation transformed the way we address domestic violence and sexual assault by expanding resources available to survivors like shelters and hotlines, improving law enforcements’ ability to pursue perpetrators, and guaranteeing access to sexual assault exams. It also directs resources toward preventing these crimes. At the same time we applaud the advances made in the last 20 years, news about NFL players accused of domestic violence seemed to be everywhere. It is a stark reminder of just how much work remains, but it started a new conversation about how we can prevent domestic violence, how it should be punished, why victims of abuse may not leave a relationship, and how we can best serve survivors. Read more about the conversation that started on Twitter here. Finally, the White House has launched a new initiative to help everyone learn more about how we all can help prevent sexual assault and support survivors of sexual assault. The program provides tools and resources to empower anyone to learn how to recognize and intervene in situations in which consent is not given and how to raise awareness about sexual assault on college campuses. It aims to transform the way bystanders respond to situations that could lead to sexual assaults. Learn more at http://itsonus.org.
It’s that time of year! Fall is starting (not that it feels like it in DC) and lots of students are headed back to school. NPR has an in depth look at how college and university campuses are handling sexual assault. Read the articles here. Also, don’t forget that the website notalone.gov, launched by the government to provide students with information about rights and resources for college sexual assaults.
Two articles highlight the differences between forensic nursing around the world. Nurses in the Boston area talk about the advanced training they receive to perform forensic exams. A nurse in South Africa discusses being the only sexual assault nurse in the region (in addition to her full-time job). In addition to providing medical care and DNA collection, she may counsel rape survivors for up to 6 months. One common theme–it’s a tough job, but it’s a rewarding job.
DCFNE’s Intimate Partner Violence Coordinator, Heidi Marcozzi, participated in a U.S. News & World Report story about the importance of forensic nursing. She discussed the services DCFNE provides for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault and our work with partner groups. She also provided details about the special training and knowledge forensic nurses bring to the exams they perform. We’re very excited to see our work and the work of forensic nurses from all over the country highlighted in the national press! Read the article here.
After years of falling homicide rates, Washington, DC has seen a surge in homicides. Police chief Cathy Lanier and anti- domestic violence advocacy organizations are concerned that domestic violence may be part of the reason for the spike. Although 2014 is only halfway over, more women have already been killed this year than in 2013. Our nurses offer free intimate partner violence exams at any time at Washington Hospital Center. Find more information on our website. There are also links to resources provided by other groups in the city and information about what to do if you or a loved one are facing an abusive relationship.
A new survey of campus sexual assault adds to already serious concerns about how our nation’s colleges are responding to sexual assault. The survey, released by Senator Claire McCaskill (Missouri), reveals that many colleges are in violation of laws about responding to sexual assault or fail to follow best practices for responding to these crimes. Read more here and read the report here.
Here in DC, we watch the news about sexual assault and SANE programs in Maryland and Virginia closely because so many people cross between the three regions on a regular basis. The state of Maryland just passed a law requiring all hospitals to have a protocol in place for responding to sexual assault victims. Check out this article to learn more about Maryland’s new law as well as a thorough overview of all of the different ways different regions across the country respond to sexual assaults.