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New Changes to GBMC's SAFE and DV Program

March 2, 2020
GBMC's Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) and Domestic Violence (DV) Program remains a national model for the treatment of patients who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, child physical/sexual abuse and human trafficking. It is the preferred location to take victims because community partners, police officers, social workers and advocacy groups recognize GBMC has the resources and staff to treat these patients with evidence-based medical care in a free, confidential and caring space.

It is through this community confidence and unfailing donor support that our program is able to further improve on the exceptional care provided with each passing year.

GBMC's new SAFE/DV Suite
GBMC's new SAFE/DV Suite
We recently opened a newly-designed, victim-centered unit with two state-of-the-art suites equipped to provide the highest quality of care to victims regardless of their age, ethnicity and economic background. The space also includes special facilities and technologies designed to meet the needs of our growing pediatric population and gives our community partner, the Child Advocacy Center, a space to conduct interviews and follow-ups, reducing the barriers for victims and families to receive continued care and intervention.

The SAFE/DV Program also launched a revamped, user- and mobile-friendly website to serve as a one-stop comprehensive resource for victims, family members, local schools and universities, corporations and community partners. The site centralizes all information, features easy-to-access buttons for loved ones and providers to determine next steps, and includes "exit now" and "delete browser history" buttons for protection.

We are also utilizing technology in the form of a digital marketing campaign targeted to college-aged students to educate them about where they can go for safe and confidential services. Early results have shown we are successful in this outreach effort and we plan to continue targeting other area campuses with mobile messaging.

Education and awareness are the keys to reducing the risk of abuse in our community. This is why our Walk a Mile in Their Shoes event - to be held this year on Saturday, April 4 at 9 a.m. - is so important. Our chairs, Bonnie Stein and Dr. Fred Chan work tirelessly to engage our community through this event, as do our forensic nurses and victim advocates under the direction of the department's new community education coordinator.

Continuous community outreach to local schools and universities focuses on education and training for prevention. In 2019, the team trained many individuals within the community, including all 1,400 school resource officers in the state of Maryland. This year, the County's Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) requested the SAFE/DV Program offer first responder training at neighboring hospitals to educate them on the best practices of care for these patients as well as develop a streamlined process of transferring victims from other Emergency Departments to GBMC.

The work GBMC's SAFE/DV team performs every day is comprehensive, extensive and necessary. We are proud to offer these services at no cost to patients, so we can be here for victims and their families when they need us the most.
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