(Weston, WI.)-Ministry Saint Clare’s President Mary Krueger has been selected as a member of Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s Statewide Sexual Assault Response Team (SART.)
SART is a multidisciplinary group of dedicated professionals well-versed in the complex issues surrounding sexual assault, with the purpose of improving the management of and payment for sexual assault forensic kits and exams.
“Time and time again we have witnessed the successful handling of individual sexual assault cases when we rely on multidisciplinary teams. It makes sense to bring the multidisciplinary approach to the state level and to have these issues addressed by this talented group of individuals who have agreed to work with me,” Van Hollen said.
Krueger was selected for SART as the result of Ministry Saint Clare’s significant commitment to its Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program which has been hailed by local law enforcement and court officials as a model program for the area.
“It is an honor to participate in this group of professionals who are committed to playing a significant role on the state level as advocates for victims of abuse,” said Krueger.
SANE nurses are registered nurses who have advanced education and clinical preparation to help meet the needs of abuse victims. By providing immediate, compassionate, culturally sensitive and comprehensive forensic evaluation and treatment, they are trained to collect and maintain the chain of evidence, provide emotional support and make arrangements for any follow-up support that may be needed.
Ministry Saint Clare’s has had its SANE program in place since opening in October of 2005. Today, it operates with 10 nurses with advanced training in pediatric cases and those involving suspected strangulation.
Krueger adds that the success of the program is possible because of the dedication of staff members who are willing to go above and beyond to perform the difficult tasks that go along with abuse and assault cases. It also needs resources to be able to continue to provide a safety net for victims.
Recently through the support of the Foundation of Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital, SANE nurses from throughout the region were able to access training and education classes in Weston.
“Our Foundation’s support has allowed us to bring this vital training here to Weston to provide better access for our staff,” said Krueger. “A major barrier for facilities to even establish a SANE program is the cost of training and education that is only offered a few times each year.”
One of the first items for the 20 members of the SART Team will be addressing the management of sexual assault forensic kits. The task force also will examine the processing of payments for sexual assault forensic exams. Members of the statewide SART were appointed by the Attorney General and include law enforcement professionals, prosecutors, advocates, sexual assault nurse examiners, hospital administrators and policy makers. The team is chaired by Jill Karofsky, Director of the Office of Crime Victim Services at the DOJ and Assistant Attorney General Audrey Skwierawski Violence Against Women Resource Prosecutor (VAWRP).