By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer
The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners office in Roosevelt and Curry counties has seen a rise in cases during the first three months of 2007, according to the program director.
Through March, SANE workers have conducted 21 exams in Roosevelt and Curry counties, according to program administrator Amber Hamilton. Of those 21 exams, 13 were in Roosevelt County — including 11 on minors under the age of 16, she said.
In 2006, nurse examiners conducted 57 exams, she said.
Hamilton cites an increased public awareness of the program as a contributing factor to the influx of cases the program has seen so far this year. Another contributor is the collaboration of both counties, law enforcement and medical entities, she said.
“It (sexual assault) has a local impact. We have victims here,” Hamilton said.
During the exams, specially trained and certified nurses collect medical and forensic evidence.
Hamilton said details of an exam are confidential and information obtained by the exam is not placed in a victim’s medical files. Evidence collected with a sexual assault examination kit is stored under lock and key until a victim is ready to report, she said.
In an effort to localize the issue of sexual assault and victims of these incidents, several activities are being planned throughout the month of April in order to bring more awareness of the issue to the communities of Roosevelt and Curry counties, Hamilton said.
“Sexual assault awareness being recognized nationally creates an opportunity to focus on the local area by bringing attention to the issues,” Hamilton said.
SANE is holding several events in conjunction with National Crime Victims Week (April 22-28), including a breakfast April 27 at the Chaparral Country Club in Clovis.
Focusing on the victims of a crime is the driving force behind the breakfast, according to Patti Johnson of the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s office. The event allows victims to be recognized for what they are having to deal with in a positive way, Johnson said.
“Basically we are here to remind everyone that every victim deserves to recover from their crimes,” Johnson said.
At a glance
National Crime Victims Week is April 22- 28.
The theme this year is: Victims Rights: Every Victim. Every Time.
What: Crime Victims Forum
When: April 24 (time TBA)
Where: Clovis Community College Town Hall
Members from local law enforcement agencies, the district attorney’s office and other organizations will be on hand to answer questions.
What: Denim Days
When: April 25
This is an opportunity for business to get involved in raising awareness by allowing and encouraging employees to wear denim as a way to
promote awareness of the issue.
A look at the national averages:
Homicide: One person is murdered every 31 minutes.
Rape: One person is raped every 2.7 minutes.
Assault: One person is assaulted every 7.2 seconds.
Domestic Violence: One woman is victimized by an intimate partner every 1.4 minutes. One man is victimized every 6.7 minutes.
Child Abuse and Neglect: One child is reported abused or neglected every 36 seconds.
Elder Abuse: One elderly person is victimized every 2.7 minutes.
Source: U.S Department of Justice