The 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office celebrated Forensic Nurses Week Nov. 6-12 as it expanded services for adult survivors of sexual assault.
The 14th Circuit Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) Program now can treat adult patients of sexual assault within the Victims Services Center in its medical exam room, thanks to a new partnership with Ulmer Family Pharmacy & Wellness Center in Bluffton.
“Addressing intimate-partner violence, sexual assault and human trafficking is a top priority for me,” 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone said. “We have the only Family Justice Center in the state that provides services to victims, regardless of where they live. Our community and nonprofit partners have joined us in our commitment to provide compassionate, safe, private and professional services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and other crimes against vulnerable people.”
Since the program’s inception in 2019, more than 100 adult sexual assault exams have been provided by SAFE Program forensic nurses at hospital emergency rooms in Beaufort County. Exams at area ERs will continue, but now adults have the choice to receive services at the 14th Circuit Victims Services Center at 108 Traders Cross in Okatie, as well.
Forensic nursing services are available for adults during normal business hours or by calling the center at 843-790-6220 to schedule an appointment. Patients needing after-hours care are encouraged to call 911 or visit their nearest emergency room.
“We believe that the more people who know about services, the better,” said forensic nurse Jennifer Talley, who oversees the SAFE Program and its forensic nurses. “We provide the specialized care that patients impacted by violence, abuse and trauma deserve and require.”
The aim of the forensic exam is to assess a victim’s health care needs, coordinate treatment of any injuries and collect evidence for potential use during case investigation and prosecution.
“Since the body is the crime scene, evidence is time-sensitive,” Talley said. “It is best to seek medical attention immediately.”
To learn more about forensic medical exams and the 14th Circuit SAFE Program, visit scsolicitor14.org/victim-services-center/ or call 843-790-6220.