Officials from Albany Med, Albany Police Address Sexual Assault Awareness
April 23, 2014 - Albany , NY
ALBANY, N.Y., April 23, 2014 - To mark Sexual Assault Awareness month, officials from Albany Medical Center's Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners Program (SAFE) joined with the Albany Police Department (APD) to offer tips to prevent and treat sexual assaults.
Albany Med's emergency department is the only facility in the region staffed 24/7 by SAFE examiners who are specially trained to treat sexual assault victims and collect evidence that can aid in conviction. The work is supported by equipment purchased through a grant from the federal Department of Criminal Justice.
According to Chame Blackburn, M.D., director of Albany Med's SAFE program, awareness efforts such as this partnership with APD are critical in helping to treat sexual assault victims.
"Sexual assault victims may feel frightened and embarrassed, and many don't know where to turn after they've been assaulted," said Blackburn. "It's important that these patients know that there are specialists who will provide thorough, sensitive, and appropriate treatment here at Albany Med."
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, nearly 238,000 people in the United States are sexually assaulted each year. Albany Med treats, on average, 110 cases of sexual assault per year.
Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff said, "Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a time to gather, raise awareness, and educate the members of our community on how we can collectively prevent sexual violence. During this month, it is essential that we recognize those extraordinary individuals, organizations, and programs that demonstrate outstanding achievements in supporting those who have been victimized.
"I commend Albany Medical Center for being a dedicated community partner and advocating for those who have been a victim of sexual violence. Their professional commitment to victims of crime and to the criminal justice process has been instrumental in collecting vital evidence and ensuring that offenders are held accountable for their actions. Through this partnership, we will continue to bring awareness to this issue and provide victims the strength, hope, and courage they need to heal and lead fulfilling lives."
APD offered the following safety tips:
* Always be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you find your way out of a bad situation.
* Avoid isolated areas where there may not be many people.
* Make sure your cell phone is with you and is always charged.
* Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially when walking alone.
* When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together.
* Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious contact the police immediately.
* Don't leave food/drink unattended while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. Leaving food items unattended increases the risk of someone "drugging" your food/drink.
* Always use your computer safely. Always use the privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Only share personal information with persons you know and trust.
* Many victims know their attacker. Define your limits and make them known. Avoid compromising situations.
* Remember that the only person responsible for an assault is the perpetrator.
Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York's only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 734-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region's largest physicians practice with more than 400 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region's health and quality of life. For more information: www.amc.edu or www.facebook.com/albanymedicalcenter.
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