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The Need for SAFE

The Need for SAFE

If you are a victim of sexual assault or personal violence and need medical attention or assistance, call 9-1-1 for help.

In 1995, Doylestown Hospital conducted a survey to access and meet the needs of an expanding community. One area of need identified was the care of victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, elder abuse and child abuse and neglect. Traditionally, these victims are examined and treated in a busy emergency department by physicians who didn't have the time and compassion that a sexual assault or victim of violence needs.

A Need is Identified

A safe, non-judgmental environment was identified as a need for victims of sexual assault or violence to meet with trained professional medical personnel who could complete the examination and treatment without interruption. Evidence collection, which is part of the initial exam along with meticulous documentation of any findings, is crucial in sexual assault and physical cases. Therefore, the process must be without interruption by trained and experienced staff.

After the community survey pinpointed sexual assault and domestic violence as an area of need, nurses of the Emergency Department decided to institute a program they had researched: SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner). These nurses are specially trained to examine and treat victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, elder abuse and child abuse with the support of Emergency Department physicians. SAFE nurses also interview the victim, collect evidence, document findings and give testimony in court.

The Success of SAFE

SAFE nurses are specially trained in the medical and legal aspects of caring for victims of violence and work closely with the Bucks County Network of Victims Assistance (NOVA). A NOVA volunteer is available, if the victim consents, to be an advocate and support for the victim from the first encounter to legal proceedings.

Since the inception of the SAFE program at Doylestown Hospital, victims are given control of the situation and are examined and treated with expertise, compassion and respect. As a team, we are able to provide these victims with the treatment and care they need in an environment that helps them regain their dignity.

We have had an excellent response to this program from the victims, the community at large, as well as the medical and legal communities. We will continue to provide a responsive healing environment to victims of violence, including sexual assault, domestic violence, as well as elder and child abuse, with the ultimate goal of restoring the human dignity that these victims have had taken from them.

The SAFE exam is provided at no cost to the victim and is completely confidential.

Call For Help

If you or someone you know is the victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or elder or child abuse, you are encouraged to consult with a SAFE nurse. Call 215.345.2280 to get help from people who understand and care.

If you are a victim of sexual assault or personal violence and need medical attention or assistance, call 9-1-1 for help.

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Dial 9-1-1 in an Emergency or contact Doylestown Health's Emergency Department at 215.345.2280.