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New program to help sexual assault survivors launches in Hancock County

hancock county SANE
Posted at 2:30 PM, Aug 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-20 14:30:10-04

HANCOCK COUNTY — Survivors of sexual assault in East Central Indiana now have a new place they can go to get help documenting what they've gone through.

The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program officially launched on August 1 at the Knightstown Health Care Center. There, survivors can get free exams that document their stories, preserve legal evidence and provide medication.

The exams are conducted by specially trained nurses and nurse practitioners.

"These healthcare professionals are trained extensively to deliver compassionate care while performing proper forensic exams. Please know, these exams are performed as a precaution; this way survivors can choose to report to law enforcement in their own time," said Donna Timblin, SANE Nurse Practitioner Lead at Hancock Health.

Aimee Herring, Hancock County Chief Deputy Prosecutor, says four sexual assault survivors were helped in the first 18 days of the program.

"It is apparent that this overwhelming need has been here for years, and yet did not exist," Herring said. "Programs like this are the epitome of victim-centered care and it is long overdue in Hancock and Henry County."

The program can also connect survivors to counseling and other resources.

The SANE program is available at the Knightstown Health Care Center, located at 224 West Main Street, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday. The facility’s phone number is (765) 345-5572.

When the clinic is closed, survivors may visit emergency departments at Hancock Regional Hospital or Henry Community Health to be connected with a qualified nurse examiner.

Earlier this year, the county created a new Sexual Assault Response Team, or SART, which is comprised of police, prosecutors, victim advocates and medical professionals. The program's goal is to coordinate a victim-centered, collaborative, interdisciplinary response to all victims of sexual assault by providing comprehensive forensic evaluation, continued advocacy, and criminal justice services in an ethical and compassionate manner.

RELATED: Governor signs bill aimed at defining rape and consent in Indiana | Hancock County getting new resources to help survivors of sexual assault