Sexual Assault Awareness Month

April 24, 2023

Forensic nurse examiners care for patients who are survivors of violence. They improve the health of their communities by building partnerships and strengthening violence prevention and awareness. 

As we mark Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we are grateful for the life-changing work of Maryland’s forensic nurse examiners. There are hospital-based sexual assault forensic medical programs across the state—covering almost every county. Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) Programs across the state serve as connectors in their communities. 

These specially trained nurses deliver compassionate care for patients, while also collecting evidence and documenting injuries. Forensic nurses guide patients on a path to recovery after a traumatic event while also making their communities safer. 

Two Maryland FNEs describe their career as challenging, but mostly rewarding. Hear their stories in our JoinMdHealth campaign here and here.

For years, MHA and your hospitals have prioritized legislation to improve care for survivors and ease barriers to SAFE programs. 

We are proud to have advocated for and helped pass a statewide tracking system for sexual assault evidence collection kits and a separate bill to improve evidence preservation. Last year, the state legislature passed a law to make permanent a pilot program that ensures survivors have access to a full 30-day supply of HIV prophylactic medication at no out-of-pocket cost.   

Forensic teams care for some of our most vulnerable patients, sometimes during the most traumatic moments of their lives, at the crossroads of health care and our legal system. This month, and every month, we appreciate the incredible work they do to care for Maryland. 
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