Sanctuary, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, is proud to announce the opening of its Sexual Assault Forensics Exam Room on May 1.

Area medical personnel, elected officials and first-responders were invited to an open house Wednesday afternoon to get a first look at the new SAFE Room alongside Sanctuary staff and board members.

Information on the wall explains each step of the SAFE exam, explaining that clients can consent or deny any part of the exam. All sexual assault exams are free and confidential.

Starting May 1, Sanctuary’s SAFE room will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday by appointment and is open to survivors 18 years of age and older. The SAFE Room at Sanctuary will provide medical exams to survivors of sexual assault, including forensic exams for evidence collection, and emotional support through advocacy. SAFE exams and other treatment services are also provided 24/7 by local hospitals and/or emergency rooms.

Survivors of sexual assault often struggle finding a safe and confidential space to receive the necessary medical care and emotional support they need. Sanctuary’s onsite SAFE Room aims to address this critical need in the community by providing these exams along with trauma-informed care. Additionally, the room is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to ensure survivors receive quality care.

“Sanctuary’s partnership with trained medical professionals will provide survivors with onsite medical care, in addition to learning about their options for healing. Sanctuary services include therapy, support groups and safety planning to anyone who has experienced sexual assault,” says executive director Heather Lancaster. 

The SAFE Room will be staffed by specially trained sexual assault nurse examiners and advocates who are experienced in working with survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. 

“A SAFE exam allows for a survivor to begin the healing process,” says SAFE room coordinator Amanda Sholar, APRN. “At Sanctuary, a survivor will be treated in a holistic manner where both their physical and emotional needs are addressed in an environment conducive to healthy healing.”

Survivors can access Sanctuary’s SAFE Room by calling Sanctuary’s 24/7 crisis hotline at 1-800-766-0000 to schedule an appointment. All SAFE Exams are free of charge and are confidential.

Sanctuary, Inc. services are funded, in whole or in part, from federal and state funds provided by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services through contracts with the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, as well as a contract with the University of Kentucky using 100% Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds. Other funding sources include Kentucky Housing Corporation, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, United Way and local contributions.

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