Cox Health expanding services for survivors of sexual assault

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SOUTHWEST MISSOURI — Cox health is receiving money to expand its services for sexual assault survivors through Southwest Missouri.

How will this funding make a difference?

Administrators in the Forensics Department at Cox Health tell me this will help rural facilities provide the same services as bigger cities.

That means sexual assault survivors won’t have to travel very far to get the help they need.

In the U.S., one in three women and one in six men experienced some form of sexual assault.

Lana Garcia, Forensic Program Coordinator, Cox Health, said, “We believe you, we’re here to help you and we’re going to do the best we can for your specific case.”

Two grants are helping Cox Health expand services for sexual assault survivors.

“Almost 600,000 dollars.”

Awarded to Cox Health by the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.

“The first will help increase our Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner coverage at our rural sites, eventually develop SART Team which is a sexual assault response team and then deliver more trauma informed care.”

It also provides an eight hour forensic training session for emergency department nurses.

“The second grant is going to help have redundant coverage in the terms of telesane.”

Which uses tele-health equipment to help facilitate needs at rural locations, including Barton County.

It’s really important to us that victims of violence can come to any Cox Health location and be delivered the same level of care that we have at our Springfield locations.

Because, Garcia says, forensics has 120 hours from the time of assault to collect that evidence.

“If you were assaulted and you don’t know, we can still care for you. If you’re assaulted and it’s been a couple of days before you’re ready to report, we can still care for you. If you’ve been assaulted and you’re not ready to report to law enforcement, don’t lose that 120 hours, don’t feel like you can’t come in. We’re still ready to help you.”

The funding will provide accessibility for healthcare providers and survivors who would have been transferred to facilities as far as 65 miles away.

Saving that time means patients won’t have to travel out of their communities to seek treatment.

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