Student Safety: SANE Services Restored to Grant County

Editor’s Note: This press release was sent to us by Kendra Milligan, the Coordinator for GRMC Community Health Partnerships. What follows is important information for all members of Western New Mexico University. 

Silver City, New Mexico, January 25, 2016: Silver Regional Sexual Assault Support Services (SRSASS) has restored local medical treatment and trauma care for anyone who has experienced a sexual assault or abuse. 

The newly restored Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program is available through a partnership with SRSASS, La Clinica Health and Birth Center and New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, Inc. SANE offers services all day, every day to adults and children of all genders by calling the crisis line at 1-866-750-6474.

SANE services include emergency contraception, trauma response, sexually transmitted infection testing and treatment, and referral to further support services, besides the standard forensic medical care offered.

SANE nurses are trained in medical forensic care of patients who have experienced sexual assault of abuse. SANE care is free and confidential.

SRSASS Executive Director, Kelli Sierras, LMSW, says, “Sexual assault is devastating and having access to free and confidential medical services are one of the first steps a survivor can take towards recovering and regaining control and stability after such a traumatic event.”

Sierras says, “A trained advocate is available to provide support to the survivor through the SANE exam.”

The SANE Medical Director, Shauna McCosh, is a Family Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse Midwife with 10 years of experience as an emergency room nurse and four years as a nurse for SANE.  McCosh also owns and operates La Clinica Health and Birth Center.

McCosh urges survivors “to call the crisis line to arrange a meeting time and easy access to clinic services, but if you have other medical trauma please go to Gila Regional Medical Center’s  emergency room.”

“SANE treats about 24 cases a year, half of whom are children,” adds McCosh.

SANE program was discontinued in September of last year by GRMC. Since that time, sexual assault survivors have had to travel to Las Cruces to receive services, an arduous journey that was further hampered by the limited time allowed for forensic evidence collection.

6th Judicial District Attorney Francesca Estevez says, “SANE is vital for evidence collection to identify and hold offenders accountable, but most important is survivor’s treatment and recovery.  The decision to prosecute is the aggrieved victim’s to make and our partnership for evidence storage gives a year to file charges. ”

Sierras notes, “One in three survivors of sexual assault don’t disclose they were assaulted or seek treatment, so we participate in any and all community events to reach out  to survivors about what services are available.” SRSASS also offers information and support to past and present survivors of sexual assault and abuse, including their family and friends.

The SRSASS SANE Crisis line is available toll free at 1-866-750-6474. For more information on SRSASS or SANE call (575)313-6203 or visit http://www.silverregionalsass.org.

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Eric Lowe is the current Editor of the Mustang Newspaper. He has been writing professionally since August 2014.