Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $499,999)
Crime victims are at high risk of the lasting effects of the physical, mental, and emotional consequences of victimization, symptoms which often exacerbate when quality, victim-centered care is unavailable. A primary obstacle in victim support is the alarming shortage of qualified sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) to care for crime victims. SANEs receive specialized training to care for those that have been impacted by violence. Unfortunately, nurses experience barriers in obtaining quality initial training and education and later, the mentorship and continuing education to augment ongoing competency. Likewise, advocacy is also a vital element of crime victims' care and healing. Advocates provide critical person-centered crisis intervention and support for victims throughout the help-seeking process and thereafter. Unfortunately, advocacy support is not always accessible for victims. For victims to heal following a violent crime, a coordinated community response is ideal. Each stakeholder system (e.g., legal, medical, advocacy) working together provides expertise aimed at the promotion of healing for victims and their loved ones and justice for the victim and the community in which they reside. Barriers to an appropriate follow-up response are ever-present, especially in rural communities and for those representing traditionally underserved populations. Texas Forensic Nurse Examiners: Forensic Center of Excellence (TXFNE) seeks funding to support the “TXFNE Expanding Access Sexual Assault Forensic Examinations in Texas” project. Funding for this initiative will allow TXFNE to expand access to sexual assault nursing within several counties in Texas. enhance SANE education and training, and coordinate with agency stakeholders to provide comprehensive care for crime victims in targeted underserved areas.