ChristianaCare Forensic Nurse Examiners are specially trained to provide comprehensive care for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, child or elder abuse and neglect, and other violent crimes. Thousands of victims of these crimes have been treated at ChristianaCare since the Forensic Nurse Examiners team began in 1997.
ChristianaCare forensic nurse examiners treat more than 200 victims of sexual assault every year. Nurse examiners at ChristianaCare’s emergency departments are part of the state of Delaware’s multidisciplinary Sexual Assault Response Team, created to ensure that survivors of sexual assault do not become victims of a fragmented medical-legal system. They offer confidential services, evaluate each victim’s pregnancy risk and help prevent sexually transmitted diseases and infections. These services are provided at no cost to the victim. Confidential services are provided whether or not the victim chooses to have police involvement.
Each year, ChristianaCare forensic nurse examiners assess and treat more than 200 victims of domestic violence. In addition to treating injuries and documenting evidence, the nurse also helps to educate the victim about domestic violence, assist with safety planning to prevent further violence and provide access to community services, such as advocacy programs and shelters. Confidential services are provided whether or not the victim chooses to have police involvement.
Child and elder abuse and neglect are public-health issues that too often go unrecognized. Since January 2005, the forensic nurse examiners at ChristianaCare have provided medical-legal services for patients who are also victims. They offer education to the medical community, the community at large and law-enforcement agencies to recognize the signs and symptoms of abuse and neglect.
In the Emergency Department, a forensic nurse is called upon whenever it is suspected that a child, elder or dependent adult may have been a victim. The nurse will notify the proper authorities, verify safety upon discharge from the Emergency Department and testify in court.
ChristianaCare’s Forensic Nurse Examiner team provides evidence collection for patients who are victims of violent crimes such as gunshot wounds, stabbing or serious assault. This includes obtaining a limited history, and creating written and photo documentation of injuries while medical treatment is being provided. This service is provided without interfering with medical treatment, and it ensures that crucial evidence is not lost in the course of emergency medical treatment.
Thousands of victims of violent crimes have been treated at ChristianaCare since the Forensic Nurse Examiners team began in 1997.