By Camryn Pak
Survivors of sexual assault now have access to forensic exams conducted by Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) at Stanford Hospital. Previously, the only location in Santa Clara County where survivors could access these exams was the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) in San Jose.
Specially trained nurses from the SCVMC are now available 24 hours a day to perform the exams at Stanford Hospital’s Emergency Department. Rape-crisis advocates have also begun responding to sexual assault survivors at Stanford Hospital, according to SCVMC Public Information Officer Joy Alexiou.
“The expanded services are particularly timely given a 79% increase in the number of medical forensic exams performed by the SCVMC Sexual Assault Forensics Exam (SAFE) team from 2015 to 2019,” Alexiou wrote in an email announcing the official launch of the new SAFE services at Stanford Hospital.
The local police chief’s association, the district attorney, the crime laboratory, Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) and Community Solutions “signed a new shared protocol outlining procedures and cooperation aimed at responding to sexual assault in a coordinated manner that supports the survivor,” Alexiou added.
The University had been in negotiations with Santa Clara County to improve the accessibility of these exams, which are designed to be administered within 72 hours of a sexual assault. The increased availability of the SART exams may help students who have been sexually assaulted, especially those for whom it is difficult to leave campus.
Previously, survivors could request transportation to the SCVMC — which will continue offering the exams — from Stanford’s Confidential Support Team (CST) or the campus police. With SART exams now available at Stanford Hospital, students have easier access to the exams without consulting the CST or the police.
“We have been working with the University and county to make this happen for years, and this is great news,” said Emma Tsurkov, a fourth-year sociology Ph.D. student and Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) co-director of sexual violence and relationship abuse prevention. “It’s a badly needed service which will make the onerous process of getting a SART exam much more easy and accessible.”