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Forensic Nurses Week November 8th through November 12th
October 25, 2010
Attorney General Janet T. Mills praised Governor John E. Baldacci for proclaiming November 8th through 12th “Forensic Nurses Week.”
The Attorney General’s office houses the State’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner Program(SAFE) which provides training and technical assistance for healthcare providers in the care of patients who have suffered sexual assault, and in the use of the Maine sex crimes kit for collection of evidence. Forensic Nurses are trained to perform medical-forensic exams, minimize the patient's waiting period to receive care, to compassionately attend to the needs of the patient in an effort to reduce the trauma from the assault and to collect evidence in a manner that meets state standards promoting successful prosecution.
The Governor’s proclamation recognizes nurses who lead the healthcare system’s response to violence around the world. Forensic Nurses Week is organized by the International Association of Forensic Nurses (IAFN), a nursing association representing over 3,000 registered nurses, death investigators, other forensic medical professionals, correctional officers, and law enforcement.
Studies show that nearly 40% of people experience consequential violence or abuse, and these victims access the healthcare system at least twice as frequently as those without a history. Forensic Nurses are the first responders to victims upon entering the healthcare system. They care for victims of physical, psychological and/or social violence and/or abuse.
Nationally, forensic nurses provide nursing care, collect evidence and provide consultation in a variety of areas including: sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, death investigation, elder mistreatment, corrections, emergency services, mental health and public health. Additionally, forensic nurses provide direct services to individual clients, consultation services to nursing, medical and law related agencies, and expert court testimony in areas dealing with trauma and/or questioned death investigative processes, adequacy of services delivery, and specialized diagnoses of specific conditions as related to nursing.
In Maine over 150 Sexual Assault Forensic Nurses provide specialized care for victims of sexual violence, domestic violence/abuse, child abuse and neglect, and elder mistreatment.
“Maine’s forensic nurses are on the front lines, responding to some of the worst forms of violence one person can do to another,” Governor Baldacci said. “They play an important public health and criminal justice role, but their work goes beyond the science and the medicine. They also bring humanity and compassion to a terrible situation.”
Greater awareness of Forensic Nurses and their work ensures communities will utilize their services to prevent, mitigate, or intervene following acts of violence.
Contact: Polly Campbell, RN 626-8806 Office of the Attorney General