Shady Grove Adventist Hospital Celebrates Opening of Expanded Unit for Victims of Sexual Assault and Abuse - Adventist HealthCare

News Release

Media Contact: Loren Nix
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Published on January 06, 2010

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital Celebrates Opening of Expanded Unit for Victims of Sexual Assault and Abuse

Official Opening Commemorates One-Year Anniversary of Federal Law Allowing Anonymous Evidence Collection for Rape Victims

Rockville, MD - Shady Grove Adventist Hospital's Forensic Medical Unit, formerly the Sexual Abuse and Assault Center, today marked its move to new and expanded space. The unit, which is the only one in Montgomery County, provides forensic evidence collection and specialized medical care to women, men and children who are victims of sexual assault and abuse.

"Victims of sexual assault and abuse in our community should know that they have a place where they can receive compassionate and expert care that allows for evidence collection as well as treatment of the physical and mental injuries," said Heidi Bresee, Coordinator of the Forensic Medical Unit at Shady Grove Adventist. "Our unit's new space not only provides a private area for our patients to await medical care, but we have evidence-collection technology that helps apprehend and prosecute criminals who commit these crimes."

Each year in Montgomery County, according to police there are about 100 reported cases of sexual assault. Hundreds of children are also sexually abused in the county each year. All of these patients are brought to the Forensic Medical Unit at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital for care provided by specially trained forensic nurses. The unit also contains specialized evidence collection equipment.

The opening of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital's new Forensic Medical Unit also commemorates the one-year anniversary of the federal Violence Against Women Act (also called "Jane Doe Law"). The legislation, which went into effect on January 5, 2009, allows sexual assault victims to anonymously preserve evidence of their rapes in case they decide to prosecute their attackers later. Prior to the law, victims of rape could only have evidence collected if they first decided to prosecute their attackers. To date, evidence collection for 10 Jane Doe victims has been collected in Montgomery County.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey, there were about 248,000 sexual assaults in the U.S. in 2007. The National Institute of Justice & Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that one in six American women have been the victim of a rape or attempted rape. Yet, rape is considered one of the most under reported crimes. Statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice show that about 60 percent of rapes are unreported.

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital's Forensic Medical Unit treats about 200 patients each year. The services provided to patients in the unit include triage, medical screening exam, forensic evidence collection, photography, prophylaxis, mental health services, follow-up and court testimony as expert witness.

"The Forensic Medical Unit is an example of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital's 30-year commitment to meeting the health care needs of our community through specialized services and care," said Dennis Hansen, President of Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. "We are committed to partnering with county and state officials to help provide a critical service to the victims of sexual abuse and assault."

Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute care facility in Rockville, Maryland with 320 licensed beds. Shady Grove offers a broad range of excellent health services including emergency care; high-risk obstetrical and neonatal care; cardiac and vascular interventional care; oncology care; several surgical specialties; and a number of specialized services for children. The Shady Grove Adventist Emergency Center in Germantown provides emergency medical care to more than 35,000 residents each year. Shady Grove Adventist Hospital is part of Maryland-based Adventist HealthCare, an integrated health care delivery system that is one of the largest employers in the state of Maryland.