By day and by night, we are the women and men of the on-call advocacy and forensic nursing at SafePlace’s Eloise House, serving survivors of sexual assault and their friends and families. We see clients of almost all ages and walks of life who have been recently (hours to days) sexually assaulted and support them while they're with us for medical treatment and evidence collection.
Until June 2015, this community's capacity was strained in meeting sexual assault survivors' needs. Before we started operating our own clinic, our clients would have likely first called 911, been told to go to a hospital (sometimes not the right one), interviewed by a detective or an officer, then asked to wait for 2 or more hours in a busy ER before meeting with an advocate and a forensic nurse. The upshot? It was taking upwards of three hours for someone reaching out for help to be seen by the folks who have resources and specific training to support them, and, from there, another four or so hours in an ER and a bill for emergency medical care to cover.
Now that we run our own clinic (aka Eloise House), our clients can reach us by phone in minutes, get to us in many cases in under an hour, and never once have to interact with someone not directly involved in their care. Instead of a busy ER--and telling the same story multiple times before meeting with specially trained staff--clients see us in a secure, private clinic, and generally finish a full forensic medical exam in under 5 hours. We offer preventative treatments for sexually transmitted infections and other medical services at no cost. People who aren't ready to talk to police can come to us first, have potential evidence collected, get information about resources and legal rights, and then make an informed decision about whether or not to get involved with the criminal justice/law enforcement system.
We strive to empower and inform every step of the way, and we not only believe in our work, we see so many of our clients leave stronger, safer, and more confident than when they met us. We hope you’ll join us in doing this compassionate and society-changing work.