The New York State Department of Health has recognized Long Island Community Hospital in Patchogue as a Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner , or SAFE, designated hospital.
The hospital is one of four in Suffolk County with the designation. The hospital partners with Victims Bureau of Suffolk County, providing specially trained SAFE examiners to victims at the hospital.
“Receiving designation as a SAFE hospital allows Long Island Community Hospital to meet a growing healthcare concern in our community,” President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Margulis said in a statement.
The new designation comes at a time when it is reported that one in six women will have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime, according to Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, an anti-sexual violence organization.
In the last year, 19 patients have come to the hospital seeking services after a sexual assault, the hospital reported..
Creating and equipping a specialized SAFE examination room came from donations from the Knapp-Swezey Foundation, New York Community Bank Foundation, Long Island Community Foundation, TD Bank, and Patchogue Community Service Foundation.
The space was designed to provide “compassionate and confidential care to victims” that is mindful of the need to “preserve the victim’s dignity and reduce psychological trauma,” according to the hospital. A nurse examiner is trained to “provide more comprehensive evidence collection for more effective investigations and better prosecutions.”
“An important component of this vital care includes working in close collaboration with the Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk County, the Family Violence, the Rape Crisis Center, the Suffolk County Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office to better help victims of sexual assault within the 28 communities we serve,” Margulis said.
In addition to providing a private and calming environment, the SAFE Examination Room has all of the necessary equipment including a specialized examination station with ultraviolet lighting and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment that can capture imagery for documentation, along with locked holding areas and the forensic supplies needed to secure, collect and transport evidence.
“We are able to provide these vital specialized services as a result of the generosity of our local community,” Rachel Schnabl, the hospital’s vice president and chief development officer, said in a statement.
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