Two Mitchell Nurses Will Go Through Training To Treat Rape Victims

MITCHELL, S.D.- According to the Central Dakota Sexual Assault Response Team, the city of Mitchell sees about one to two rape cases a month. Currently victims younger than the age of 15, have to travel out of town to be seen by medical professionals but that will soon change.

“Every rape case is a serious case,” says Mitchell Police Department Detective, Daniel Fechner.

As a detective of the Mitchell Police Department Daniel Fechner knows the importance of having evidence especially in a sexual assault case.

“The sooner we can get the evidence the better. That evidence collected is then collected by someone that’s local,” says Fechner. “So if it goes to court, we have local people that can come and testify for us,”

That’s why he is part of the Central Dakota Sexual Assault Response Team. A group focused on helping victims of sexual assault in the community. The group formed back in 2011, and they recently did a campaign in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month to raise funds to train two local nurses to help care for rape victims. Currently victims ages 16 and older can go at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital.

“They go to the hospital, they will see the first initial nurse who will take all their information and they will have another nurse, who will come in and do the kit,” says Central Dakota Sexual Assault Response Team President, Coleen Smith. “Then the doctor has to come in and do the examination,”

Soon, two nurses will be specially trained to handle that workload on their own. They’ll also be able to see younger patients. Right now, victims 15 and younger cannot been examined in Mitchell. Instead they are referred to places in Sioux Falls and Watertown. The response team wants to change that.

“It will be nice that someone can be with them through the beginning of the kit, all the way to the end,” says Smith.

With the $1500 they recently raised, two nurses will be trained on how to collect DNA evidence, and counsel victims. The group says they have two goals, one to not have victims travel out of town for care and the second is to only have victims deal with one caregiver as opposed to many. They also hope this will encourage other victims to speak up.

“As far as sexual assault, we do have it in our community. A lot of it is not reported as much as what gets reported, there’s more out there, than what’s getting reported,” says Smith.

The two nurses are expected to be certified by January 2018. The Central Dakota Sexual Assault Team also says their future hope is to expand the number of nurses trained to help rape victims.

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