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U of L Hospital Expands Forensic Examination Program to Offer Support, Gather Evidence for Victims of Domestic Violence

verizonLOUISVILLE, Ky. (8/21/14) — University of Louisville Hospital, part of KentuckyOne Health, will expand its ability to gather forensic evidence for victims of sexual assault to include services for domestic violence victims.

The expansion, made possible by a grant from Verizon Wireless, will enable collection of forensic evidence that could assist prosecution in all types of domestic violence cases, regardless of whether there was sexual abuse.

Fourteen years ago, University of Louisville Hospital launched the sexual assault nurse examiner program to provide medical and forensic examinations to victims of sexual assault who are male or female and 14 years of age or older. The exam is performed to identify, document and treat injuries and collect forensic evidence. With the patient's permission, the evidence collected during the exam is turned over to police for use in a criminal investigation.

With the expansion of services, the SANE program will become KentuckyOne Health SAFE Services, an acronym for Sexual Assault and Forensic Examiners, to reflect the addition of forensic examinations for victims of domestic violence.

"Forensic examinations for domestic violence victims are a critical piece of the prosecution of perpetrators," said Amanda Corzine, assistant coordinator, KentuckyOne Health SAFE Services. "This generous grant from Verizon Wireless will help cover the cost of these services to victims of domestic violence and provide them with evidence to help prosecute their abuser."

For victims of sexual assault, the Kentucky Crime Victims Compensation Board provides funding for the exam and documentation of injuries. This same service is not available to domestic violence victims, and as a result there are few opportunities to have their injuries evaluated and documented by forensic examiners. The funding provided by Verizon Wireless will help fill this void.

The grant funding will also help cover the costs to purchase LED camera equipment that can collect evidence not seen by the naked eye and detect marks and bruises below the skin's surface, such as strangulation marks and other bruises.

KentuckyOne Health SAFE Services is available at two main locations-University of Louisville Hospital (530 S. Jackson Street) and the Center for Women and Families (927 South 2nd Street). There is no cost to patients for the domestic violence or sexual assault exam.

The $15,000 grant to expand the program was awarded by HopeLine(R) from Verizon, a program that turns no-longer-used wireless devices into support for domestic violence prevention and treatment programs. Devices and accessories, donated by consumers in any condition and from any provider, are collected by the HopeLine program and then refurbished and resold or disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner. The money is then given back to the community as cash grants to organizations that work in the domestic violence field.

"SAFE Services is a very important tool that provides support to victims and aids law enforcement in prosecuting offenders," said Ken Marshall, president, University of Louisville Hospital. "We are grateful for the support of Verizon Wireless that has enabled us to expand the program to help both victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse."

"This grant reflects just one aspect of Verizon's holistic approach to combating domestic violence, which we do by funding programs that provide education, prevention and survivor support," said Lauren Love-Wright, president, Kentucky/Indiana/Michigan, Verizon Wireless. "With this grant to KentuckyOne Health SAFE Services, we are turning devices that thousands of Kentuckians have donated into support for neighbors and loved ones who have survived abuse and now need evidence to prosecute the perpetrator and then move on with their lives."

About KentuckyOne Health

KentuckyOne Health was formed when two major Kentucky health care organizations came together in early 2012. KentuckyOne Health combines the Jewish and Catholic heritages of the two former systems - Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare and Saint Joseph Health System. In late 2012, the organization formed a partnership with the University of Louisville Hospital James Graham Brown Cancer Center. The nonprofit system is committed to improving the health of Kentuckians by integrating medical research, education, technology and health care services wherever patients receive care. KentuckyOne Health has more than 200 locations including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes and home health agencies across the state of Kentucky and southern Indiana.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless operates the nation's largest and most reliable 4G LTE network. As the largest wireless company in the U.S., Verizon Wireless serves 104.6 million retail customers, including 98.6 million retail postpaid customers. Verizon Wireless is wholly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Lisa Miller

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