UTHSC receives $1.5M grant for sexual assault nurse examiner training

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Every 68 seconds someone is sexually assaulted in the US, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN.

“We see victims of all genders. Kids as young as one to adults over 100. So, we provide forensic exams to all those folks,” said Sandy Bromley, the Director of Shelby County Crime Victims and Rape Crisis Center.

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Bromley said sexual assaults and rapes are underreported. But statistics show as many as one in five women may be assaulted in their lifetimes.

“We serve over 4,000 victims of crime every year. We serve about 500 victims of sexual violence every year,” said Bromley.

Across West Tennessee, there are five certified sexual assault examiners, four right here in Memphis.

To fill that void, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Nursing applied for a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources Services Administration to expand Sexual Assualt Nurse Examiner training and Certification in West Tennessee. And they received it.

“Sexual assault examiners are trained specifically on how to do forensic type investigations. That fully supports the survivor who is experiencing trauma,” said Christie Manasco/UTHSC College of Nursing.

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Beginning in July, 61 registered nurses or advanced practice registered nurses will be recruited.

“We’re following these nurses to help them get everything they need from start to finish, something they have normally had to do on their own,” said Manasco.

Bromley said sexual assaults across Shelby County are down slightly.

This year there have been 350 reported cases compared to 400 last year at the same time. But we’re told this could be due to a lack of reporting.

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