New Program for Sexual Assault Victims Expands to Superior

Taylor Holt
Updated: April 04, 2018 06:56 PM

When someone is sexually assaulted having access to resources for help can many times save their life, and now, there's a new resource for victims in the Twin Ports.

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It's called SANE or the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program. It's a partnership between Essentia Health - Superior and local advocacy groups aimed at making getting support for victims much easier.

"There's a lot of shame and self blame that typically a victim feels following a sexual assault," said Jill Hinners, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Center for Sexual and Domestic Abuse in Superior. 

The program is aimed at conquering the battle of getting help after an assault.

"We realized that last year when I came here there was not a SANE program, like they had at the Duluth hospitals, and we realized it was something our community needed," said Kim Pearson, Director of Nursing at the hospital.

In the program, when a victim comes to the hospital, they're provided with a special sexual assault nurse examiner from PAVSA or Program to Aid for Victims of Sexual Assault, as well as a CASDA patient advocate.

"It's not that a patient who came here (to the hospital) after being a victim of sexual assault and didn't receive care but it was done by our own in-house emergency room doctors and nurses, that even though they had some training they didn't have the extensive training that a SANE nurse would provide," said Pearson.

The examiner has specialized training and collects evidence, while the advocates are there to give support and other necessary victim resources, as well as communicate with hospital staff. 

"When you think about a victim of sexual assault, they might have a wonderful support system and friends and family, but if none of those individuals have never had a close encounter with the aftermath of sexual assault before, a personal experience or helped someone else through it, they might nor understand all of the dynamics," said Hinners.

Last year, CASDA responded to 43 sexual assault hospital calls - which Hinners says shows how much it's needed in the area, and how much a program like this can help give support that is essential for victims.

"I think the best possible thing for anyone to realize in that moment is they don't have to go through it alone," said Hinners.

There are a number of resources for people in the area who have been affected by sexual assault. Both the PAVSA and CASDA website have information on resources.




Taylor Holt

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