Selmer City police recently receive sexual assault response training.

This training was provided by the Jackson-Madison County General Hospital and WRAP (Wo/Men’s Resource & Rape Assistance Program).

The hospital has a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) program. This program helps hundreds of men and women cope with their horrible experiences and aids in the collection of evidence.

Mary Cole, one of the nurses involved in the program, was here to help train Selmer City Police Officers on how to help these men and women and what to expect when bringing victims to the hospital.

“This is a first responder initial presentation.” Cole said. “I conduct medical forensic examinations of the victims of the 19 counties in West Tennessee, excluding Shelby and Davidson Counties.”

This was the first training Mary Cole has been able to provide for the Selmer Police Department.

Jackson-Madison General Hospital is the only hospital in West Tennessee with a SANE program in place.

The goal is to help educate the first responders on their role in the initial contact with the victims and their families.

“Sexual assault is a horrific crime, and we as police and first responders owe it to the victims of said crimes to do all that we can to not only ensure that justice is done, but also to make sure the victim is cared for both mentally and physically,” Investigator Nathan Harrison stated. “We take any opportunity available to further train and expand our resources to better serve the community. Sexual assault is a crime we don’t talk about and think doesn’t occur in Mcnairy County; but unfortunately, it does. For example the Carl Perkins Center from January till today has already aided and helped 54 children.” 

During the pandemic, there were fewer victims coming into the hospitals; however, the exact reason for this decrease is unknown.

As COVID-19 restrictions have relaxed, Kaitlyn Boyd, the Victim’s Advocate for WRAP, noticed an increase in calls and victims coming to seek help as the pandemic restrictions began to lift in June.

“We have seen a large increase in numbers as COVID numbers decrease,” Boyd said. “I know our hotline and our help line has increased tremendously, and the amount of referrals we are getting from [the] previous...two months ago and three months ago [of] sexual assaults, we are getting those calls now.”

Cole mentioned that the numbers of patients at Jackson Madison General Hospital are also on the rise since June.

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