Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $500,000)
Jacksonville State University (JSU), as a leader in supporting communities throughout Northeast Alabama, is committed to providing a network of compassionate care to victims of sexual violence in Calhoun, Cleburne, and Talladega counties. JSU aims to establish a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) and Sexual Assault Response Center to address significant gaps in services for individuals who have experienced sexual assault. Currently, there is no SANE facility in the three-county coverage area, and few nurses are trained to administer the sexual assault forensic examination. The nearest SANE program, located in Birmingham, AL, is approximately 76 miles one way, or 152 miles round trip from the onsite facility, and up to 104 miles one way, or 204 miles round trip from outlying counties. Given the maximum 120-hour timeframe (as per Alabama law) to collect evidence, traveling this distance presents a significant barrier to care.
Additionally, 2nd Chance, our long-standing sexual assault (SA) response and prevention center, has ceased providing SA services, leaving Calhoun, Cleburne, and Talladega Counties unserved, and the Northeast Alabama Sexual Assault Response Team (NEALSART) has been dissolved.
To address these gaps in coverage, we are partnering with St. Michael's Outreach to establish SANE and advocacy services in a freestanding clinic to serve Calhoun, Cleburne, and Talladega Counties. We are also acquiring a mobile forensics camera system to meet victims where they are, such as hospitals and nursing homes. Crisis Services of North Alabama will provide IAFN-approved training to registered nurses and consultation to establish 24/7 victim-centered and trauma-informed care that enhances current rape kit collection services by untrained nurses.
The Alabama Coalition Against Rape (ACAR) will oversee the establishment of advocacy services to offer 24/7 assistance to sexual assault victims within Calhoun, Cleburne, and Talladega counties. Advocates will accompany victims immediately following the assault, respond to crisis calls, and participate in community events and fundraising opportunities.
Our first goal is to provide 24/7 local, safe, private Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) services with comprehensive, holistic care for adolescent and adult survivors (14 and older) in Calhoun, Cleburne, and Talladega counties. Objectives include:
Train 10 nurses to be IAFN qualified to perform 24/7 SANE services
Fully equip one SANE exam rooms to collect forensics evidence
Develop survivor centered standardized policies, procedures, and protocols.
Initiate cross trainings between medical units, and law enforcement agencies
Collect and report performance measures
Our second goal is to provide 24/7 local, safe, private sexual assault (SA) advocacy services in Calhoun, Cleburne, and Talladega Counties.
Train 20 sexual assault advocates using survivor centered protocols to provide 24/7 services.
Conduct community outreach and education about SA and SA services
Create survivor centered protocols, policies, and procedures.
Coordinate a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) to cover Calhoun, Cleburne and Talladega counties.
Initiate Memorandum of Understandings with community partners
Collect and report performance measures.