Greenville has new resource for sexual assault victims

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 1:34 pm on Friday, July 27, 2012

GREENVILLE – The first satellite office of the YWCA Nurse Examiner Program (NEP) opened its doors in June at the Greenville Patient Care Center/Spectrum Health United Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The YWCA West Central Michigan, Spectrum Health United Hospital and Relief After Violent Encounter Ionia/Montcalm (RAVE) came together to open the office.

“We are very proud to partner with them,” said Brian Basser, chief nursing officer at Spectrum Health Kelsey Hospital in Lakeview.

The office was opened in Greenville because of a shared concern that sexual assault victims had a hard time accessing the NEP services. Brasser said the program has been offered in Grand Rapids for many years. However, sexual assault victims are from all over, and some declined to drive to Grand Rapids for help.

“The three organizations established the YWCA NEP Greenville as means of providing the services much closer and conveniently to those communities,” stated a press release from the YWCA. “Sexual assault nurse examiner programs are widely considered critical elements in a community’s response to sexual assault.”

Brasser said the program will provide 24-hour services to victims.

The release states that through the program, a highly trained nurse examiner provides health and injury screenings, collect physical evidence and dispense appropriate medications. The program also offers a victim advocate to provide crisis intervention to the victim and their friends or family.

The program is at a private location, like a physician’s office, with quiet medical suites, not like the emergency room.

“This program provides a coordinated, victim-focused, private and seamless response,” said Carla Blinkhorn, YWCA CEO in the press release. “Because the YWCA NEP Greenville is available on a 24-hour, on-call basis, victims are assured of receiving care immediately, when they need it, all at no cost to them.”

Because of the quality of the service, Blinkhorn stated in the release, it removes the “he said, she said” uncertainty in a case.

“It is in collectively leveraging the resources and expertise of the YWCA and our partners – Spectrum Health United Hospital and RAVE-Ionia/Montcalm, Inc. – that we’re able to fill a significant gap that existed for victims in rural areas,” she stated.

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