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Tucson’s 2nd exam site for sexual assault victims opens

September 6, 2021 GMT

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A second forensic examination site for sexual assault victims has opened in Tucson.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that the site opened last week at Banner-University Medical Center Tucson. The site is supported by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Justice Department.

In Arizona, such exams must have been completed by certified sexual assault nurse examiners for evidence from a survivor’s sexual assault kit to be admissible in court.

Previously, victims of sexual assault who wanted to obtain a medical forensic exam had to go to Tucson Medical Center, where they would be met by a sexual assault forensic examiner affiliated with the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault.

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For victims who sought treatment for the assault or related injuries at a hospital other than Tucson Medical Center, having to transfer to another hospital was an additional barrier, and one that could lend itself to re-traumatization of the survivor, experts say.

By staying at one hospital, survivors won’t have to fill out two sets of forms, give their information twice or tell their story again.

The Justice Department grant also will pay for the creation of a Sexual Assault Response Team made up of experts who will guide the program to ensure it meets survivors’ needs.