New facility offers treatment and support for sexual assault victims

chief nursing officer Norma Sanford
chief nursing officer Norma Sanford

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LIVINGSTON, TX (KTRE) – Sex assault victims in East Texas, now have help in moving forward after an attack.

Wednesday, a state of the art sex assault examiner suite opens in Polk County.

In order to protect those who will use the center, we can't tell you the exact location.

The facility will offer treatment and counseling, all confidential services. It will also be central in assisting investigators.

"If you really want prevention from these types of episodes from occurring you need to be able to prosecute and to prosecute you have to be able to collect evidence," said Senator Robert Nichols.

Medical staff will examine the victims, while working closely with law enforcement and the district attorney's office to collect crucial evidence that could make or break a case.

While surrounding counties have used similar programs, the "SANE" suite is the first of its kind to offer the latest forensic technology, right here in East Texas.

"Most D.A. offices now and most prosecutors are moving into the realm of digital photography and using photographs in their cases because as you know, a picture speaks 1,000 words," said chief nursing officer Norma Sanford.

"Sometimes on cases like that you are looking for just the very smallest bit of evidence that could cooperate the allegation that's being made and so every little bit could potentially help," explained criminal district attorney for Polk County, Lee Hon.

Victims can feel at ease, knowing they no longer have to travel far to receive the care they need.

"Our victims had to go out of county for any sexual assault examination that was done, whether it was Lufkin, Beaumont, Conroe, or the Houston area in some instances. It was very inconvenient and time consuming," said Hon.

Victims who report sexual assault, will be referred to the center for assistance.

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