In May 2011, KVH Hospital agreed to become a permanent home for management and operation of a sexual assault program in Kittitas County. Prior to being located at KVH Hospital, several organizations attempted to manage the program, including Planned Parenthood, Kittitas County Public Health Department, and independent providers. Those organizations struggled with provision of staff for 24/7 coverage.
The two year anniversary of the sexual assault program at KVH Hospital provides an opportunity to review how local agencies work together on behalf of those who have experienced a sexual assault. The program is designed to treat the medical needs of those who have been sexually assaulted. It also allows medical professionals to collect evidence for future use in court.
Local law enforcement agencies, ASPEN, Central Washington University and KVH Hospital work together in what is known as a Coordinated Community Response Team. Agencies cooperate from the time of initial report through medical examination, evidence collection, follow-up medical care or counseling for the patient, and potential prosecution of a perpetrator.
“The level of cooperation among Kittitas County agencies is astounding,” said Eric Davis, Director of Emergency Services at KVH Hospital. “We continue to work together to improve the provision of services.” A recent training held at KVH Hospital was attended by members from each of the agencies in the Coordinated Community Response Team, underscoring the outstanding local commitment to the sexual assault program. About 25 people attended the training, including 15 KVH employees.
Over the past two years, 39 patients have used the services of specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in Kittitas County. These patients vary in age and gender, though most patients are female.
Funding for medical exams, supplies, and training is provided by the Kittitas County Law and Justice Council, the Crime Victims Fund, ASPEN, Kittitas Valley Healthcare, and the Foundation at KVH.
Those who have experienced a sexual assault may call for police assistance, call ASPEN, or go directly to the Emergency Department at KVH Hospital. Care is as confidential as allowed by law; certain legal and parental notifications are required for patients under the age of 18.