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Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas Opens New Forensic Exam Center as Part of Sexual Assault Program|
DALLAS — Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas today is opening the new W.W. Caruth, Jr. Center for SAFE Healing, a 3,000-square-foot, multi-room suite dedicated to providing comprehensive treatment for sexual assault victims.
The Caruth Center for SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Exam) Healing is located in the hospital’s emergency department and will serve as a unique healing environment for victims and their family members. It is the first of its kind in Dallas County.
Part of the new, highly successful Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at Texas Health Dallas, the Caruth Center for SAFE Healing features medical exam rooms with advanced forensic equipment; law enforcement and social service advocacy rooms; private bathrooms with showers; secure access to evidence collection; an education center for SANE nurse training and a private family waiting area. Victims can be seen and treated at any time of the day or night in the Center, as SANE-certified nurses are on-call 24/7.
“We are proud to offer a place for victims of sexual assault to feel secure and comforted in a time of crisis and receive compassionate care,” said Britt Berrett, Ph.D., president of Texas Health Dallas. “This program has been a vision of nurses, physicians, administrators and trustees at our hospital for some time, and thanks to the support of our community, it’s now a reality.”
In November 2010, Texas Health Presbyterian Foundation announced that it was the recipient of a $2 million lead grant from W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) to support the SANE program, the Caruth Center for SAFE Healing and education and training initiatives. Grant funding also supports programming needs of the county’s first independent rape crisis center, Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center (DARCC), including post-trauma counseling and advocacy, as well as sexual assault education in local high schools and universities. DARCC provides free and unlimited advocacy and counseling support services to anyone affected by sexual violence or abuse and their families.
Texas Health Presbyterian Foundation has received additional community support for the program, including funds from Meadows Foundation; The Hoglund Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. R. Brock Compton; Dallas Women’s Foundation; Gaston Episcopal Hospital Foundation and anonymous donors. A private reception to celebrate the grand opening and dedication of the Caruth Center for SAFE Healing and honor program supporters will be held this evening at Texas Health Dallas.
“We are honored to be a part of the opening of the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Center for SAFE Healing. This grant faithfully addresses a top priority of Will Caruth, who entrusted his charitable legacy to CFT: to see support for public safety initiatives keep pace with the city’s rapid growth. This Center will significantly transform the resources accessible to those who are affected by sexual assault, and serve as a model for other centers that are opened in the future,” said Brent Christopher, president and CEO of Communities Foundation of Texas.
The statistics associated with sexual assault crimes are staggering. According to the Department of Justice, one in every four women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. A typical sexual predator will attack nine victims before being caught and only six percent of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. Prior to the launch of the SANE program at Texas Health Dallas in 2010, Dallas was the largest city in the nation without a certified sexual assault program.
“No single agency in Dallas was providing full-scale, comprehensive sexual assault services, leaving victims to fall through the cracks,” said Berrett. “Working together with law enforcement and sexual assault advocacy groups, Texas Health Dallas is helping provide treatment for sexual assault victims and their families and also bring sexual predators to justice.”
SANE-certified nurses undergo more than 180 rigorous hours of clinical and classroom training to learn to conduct thorough exams; collect court-admissible forensic evidence; provide effective courtroom testimony and show compassion and sensitivity to victims of sexual assault. Department of Justice statistics show that there is a 95 percent increase in successful prosecution of cases in which evidence is collected by a SANE-certified nurse.
Since the launch of the SANE program at Texas Health Dallas, more than 100 sexual assault victims have been treated and evidence in five cases has already been “called up” for review by the Dallas County District Attorney’s office.
“We are sending a powerful message to our community that this violent crime will no longer be tolerated,” said Jay McAuley, president of Texas Health Presbyterian Foundation. “We are extremely grateful to our community supporters, especially W.W. Caruth, Jr. Foundation at Communities Foundation of Texas, for their commitment to bringing transformative change to Dallas. Together, we are making our community a better, safer place to live and work.”
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