PITTSBURG, KS – Sexual assault cases have decreased over the past year, but with cases beginning to increase once again, nurses and members of law enforcement are doing their part to help victims every step of the way.
“I just can’t say how important it is, our victims don’t want to show up, they’re afraid of the police or they’re afraid to go to the ER and we want to fix that.” Says Wendy Overstreet, PSU SANE Coordinator.
A solution comes in the form of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, or SANE Program, from the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.
The no-cost program is designed to help nurses, members of law enforcement, and others, identify and assist sexual assault and domestic violence victims.
“From the first person they meet until they go to trial or however it ends, we want to make sure everyone knows how to take care of a sexual assault victim.” Overstreet says.
“We need to do better to be victim oriented. For me as a law enforcement officer, it will help me investigate sexual assaults much better than I can at this point.” Says Chris Hall, Crawford County Sheriff’s Office Detective Sgt.
Over the past year agencies have noticed a decrease in case numbers.
Some say it’s most likely due to COVID-19 preventing victims from finding a safe place to report the problem.
“We’ve done two to three every weekend and now we’re doing one to two every week.” Overstreet says.
“We expect to see that gradual up on cases which is more related to school coming back in session, again for adults and children, they have that safe place or person that they might tell or make that report for what had happened.” Says La’Mour Romine, Pittsburg PD Sgt. Detective.
Sometimes all a person needs is encouragement from a family member or friend to make a report.
“Check in and say ‘Hey how are you doing,’ if something is reported to them, the best you can do is encourage them to come forward to law enforcement or go to the hospital and get themselves checked.” Romine says.