May 9, 2017
For Immediate Release
NEW CHILD ABUSE PEDIATRIC MEDICAL EXAM
PROGRAM STARTS IN BLOOMINGTON
Bloomington, Indiana – Go to Indianapolis. That was where a child was referred when a sexual abuse investigation called for a pediatric forensic medical exam. Then in many cases the medical exam didn’t happen – either due to scarce resources, or because of the transportation hardship imposed on low-income families. Not only did that response fail the child, but it also left the abuse investigation incomplete.
Now thanks to a collaboration between Riley Physicians for Children IU Health and Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Center, local victims of child abuse will be able to receive a free forensic exam from a specially trained medical professional in Bloomington.
“We have been working together to make this happen in Bloomington for a long time,” said Emily Perry, Executive Director of Susie’s Place, “because we strongly believe that every child who needs a forensic medical exam should be able to get one regardless of their circumstances.”
In 2008, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program was created to provide forensic medical exams for adult victims of sexual assault at I.U. Health Bloomington Hospital. Then in 2011, Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Center opened its doors in Bloomington to provide forensic interviews for child victims of suspected abuse. Since then the need for a pediatric version of the SANE program (or P-SANE) has been regarded as a high priority next step. After years working toward achieving that goal, such a program is now up and running.
The new pediatric forensic medical exam program will collect and document evidence following suspected child sexual abuse, and provide appropriate follow-up health care and counseling referrals.
“Even if it doesn’t reveal any additional evidence of abuse,” said Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal, “a pediatric forensic medical exam is necessary to show that a complete and thorough investigation was conducted.”
Dr. Richard Malone of Riley Physicians will act as Medical Director for the new program, and will personally conduct regular exams at Susie’s Place in Bloomington.
“Providing a prompt pediatric forensic medical exam should be the standard of care in these cases,” said Dr. Malone, “not only to document possible abuse but also to reassure both the child and their families when there are normal physical findings.”
Danielle Benedek, a Family Nurse Practitioner who specializes in the care of pediatric victims of sexual assault, will also conduct exams of alleged child victims at Susie’s Place. She has already volunteered countless hours of service and expertise to help get the new program off the ground.
“This is certainly worth celebrating,” said Benedek. “It represents a major step forward to better protect children in our community.”
Dr. Malone plans to work closely with Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis, which will provide additional resources and case review to support the local effort in Bloomington.
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For more information contact:
Susie’s Place Child Advocacy Center
Emily Perry: 812-822-1570
Chris Gaal: (812) 349-2670
IU Health Southern Indiana Physicians
Scott Rolfe: (812) 335-2442