Forensic nurses collecting domestic violence evidence
The forensic nursing program at Cone Health now collects evidence of domestic violence. The evidence can be confidentially collected and kept until the person giving the evidence wants it. The hope is that the evidence can be used to obtain restraining orders or even be used in criminal trials.
“This is a great example of the Cone Health value of ‘Caring for Our Communities,’” says Cone Health Forensic Nursing Program Coordinator Catherine Rossi. “Women are often frightened and embarrassed after being attacked by someone they once held close. These nurse examiners have the knowledge to help women find support and assistance, and the skills to collect the evidence they may need.”
Cone Health Forensic Nurses work in specialized treatment rooms to collect evidence of sexual assaults. The nurses are trained to take photographs and obtain and log other evidence that can be used in court proceedings. Rossi says all of the evidence is confidential. The exam and evidence collection doesn’t even show up in the person’s standard medical record.
“Unfortunately, there is a real need for this program. I am very happy that we are able to help,” adds Rossi.
In 2012, the Greensboro Police Department responded to 13,819 potential domestic violence calls.
Cone Health Forensic Nurses provide services in the emergency departments at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, Wesley Long Hospital, Annie Penn Hospital and MedCenter High Point. The services will soon be available in the emergency department of Alamance Regional Medical Center.
Women who have questions about the Cone Health Forensic Nurse Domestic Violence program should call 336-832-2966.