Area nurses are prepared to help sexual assault victims

By WEEK Producer

Area nurses are prepared to help sexual assault victims

April 10, 2012 Updated Apr 10, 2012 at 9:09 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- April is Sexual Assault Awareness month and local hospitals hope to eventually have 24-hour coverage for sexual assault victims.

Specially trained staff called "sexual assault nurse examiners" meet with victims at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. The nurses say they treat about 80 to 100 sexual assault victims each year at the hospital.

While the numbers have gone down over the past year and a half, they are not sure that means there are fewer sexual assault cases because many victims are still reluctant to report the crimes.

Jennifer Cruz, a S.A.N.E. nurse at OSF said, "The biggest challenge is basically trying to get them to be calm and telling their story and letting them know that we are in a place where they are safe"

Hospital officials say when there is a S.A.N.E. nurse involved in cases, it provides for better patient outcomes and conviction rates in court.

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