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Protecting Victims of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence

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By:

Bri Rogers

April 21, 2020
At a time when our community is asked to stay home, GBMC’s Sexual Assault Forensic Examination (SAFE) and Domestic Violence (DV) Program knows that home may not always be the safest place. During this time, sexual assault and domestic violence can increase in frequency and escalate to more dangerous situations. GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program is committed to our community and remains fully operational to provide medical/forensic services and advocacy support at no cost to patients – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

More recently, GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program has created a new process that does not require victims of sexual assault or abuse to enter through the Emergency Department - knowing that the Emergency Department is treating COVID-19 patients and Patients Under Investigation (PUI), may create fear in those who want to report the incident and receive treatment but do not want to risk exposure to the virus. GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program has created a way for patients meeting criteria, who have experienced sexual assault or abuse to enter directly through the private SAFE Suite, so long as they have no emergency medical needs. The program has also provided and assigned Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for their Special Victims Unit (SVU) and Crimes Against Children Unit (CACU) partners to use when working with victims in the suite. This not only keeps their partners and the nurses who work alongside them safe, but ultimately protects the patients.

In response to the provisional closure of the Child Advocacy Center medical clinic, GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program has become a temporary non-acute clinic for child sex abuse cases in Baltimore County. “It is important to protect our young victims and allow them to receive timely treatment, especially during a time when disclosure is at an all-time low due to schools being closed,” says Laura Clary, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, Clinical Manager and Forensic Nurse of GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program. If you, your neighbor, or someone you know is experiencing sexual assault or domestic violence, please reach out to GBMC’s SAFE & DV Program or one of the following community partners (available 24/7) for help.

Baltimore County Police Department
  • If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
  • If 911 is not an option, have a family member or friend call the non-emergency number at 410-887-2222, email iwatch@baltimorecountymd.gov, or call the Special Victims Unit at 410-887-2223.
GBMC’s SAFE and DV Program – 443-849-3323, www.gbmc.org/safe-dv

The Family Tree (parenting helpline) – 1-800-243-7337 or live chat at www.familytreemd.org
  • Connects parents to resources to prevent child abuse and provides family counseling, children and youth services, and public policy and advocacy
Turn Around (helpline) – 443-279-0379, www.turnaroundinc.org
  • Provides therapeutic services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence including legal advocacy, shelter, employment readiness, and case management
House of Ruth Maryland – 410-889-7884, www.hruth.org
  • Provides services to victims of intimate partner violence including emergency shelter, legal clinic services, counseling services, and abuse intervention
Family Crisis Center – Office: 410-285-4357 – Shelter: 410-285-7496

Baltimore County Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Hotline – 410-828-6390

SARC Harford County – 410-836-8430

National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233

If you would like to learn more about giving back during this time, please visit gbmc.org/donations or donate to the GBMC HealthCare Workers Fund to support our healthcare heroes.
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