The South Carolina Forensic Nurse Examiners Task Force, led by the South Carolina Victims Assistance Network, joined Attorney General Alan Wilson on Monday morning to release the state’s new Sexual Assault Forensic Excellence Designation System, according to a news release.
The SAFE Designation System is an accreditation program for hospitals, communities and other agencies that support victims of sexual assault, the Attorney General’s release said.
Members of the task force gathered in Columbia outside the state grand jury room to announce the new program and “highlight its significance in relation to investigating, prosecuting and responding to crimes involving sexual assault.”
“As a member of the FNE Task Force, my office recognizes the significance of forensic exams in evidence collection,” Wilson said. “These exams can help build a case against sexual assault perpetrators and enable prosecutors to hold the defendants accountable for their actions.”
To be eligible for the SAFE designation, hospitals will need to assign a contact person to oversee the sexual assault kit tracking system, the release stated.
Accreditation levels will require field personnel to complete a two-hour training on caring for sexual assault victims, the release stated.
To assist hospitals in obtaining SAFE designation, SCVAN will provide free Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Adult/Adolescent Didactic training statewide from April through December of this year.
“We hope that all hospitals will step up and achieve this safe designation in response to the needs of sexual assault victims across South Carolina,” said Ritchie Tidwell, chairperson of the Forensic Nurse Examiner Task Force.
The SAFE Designation System will officially launch on April 1, according to the release.
To access more information about applying for the designation, go to www.scvan.org.
If there are questions, contact SCVAN’s Amanda Brown, Statewide Forensic Nurse Examiner Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sabrina Gast, Statewide Forensic Nurse Examiner Director at email@example.com.
To report an incident or seek victim services, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673. The hotline is confidential and open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.