The Center of Hope at Indiana University Health Arnett offers victims of sexual and physical abuse a safe space to receive treatment and care after an assault. Now the program has extended to both IU Health Frankfort and IU Health White Memorial hospitals, ensuring patients have close-to-home access to high quality forensic nurses, specialized equipment and compassionate, private care.

“We want victims to know that they are not alone. Even if they do not wish to report the assault to law enforcement, we can help,” stated Megan Shupe, BSN, RN, CEN, FNE at IU Health Arnett Center of Hope. “Victims deserve care and attention from a special group of professionals who are ready to help in their time of need.”

Patient care begins with a medical legal examination that includes an interview where the patient recalls as much detail as possible from the incident and the perpetrator. The interview is followed by a thorough exam that includes body mapping and swabbing, identifying lacerations, bruises and areas that may provide forensic evidence – such as particles of skin from beneath the fingernails, a possible sign of the victim scratching the perpetrator during defense. A special camera is used to photograph the victim’s injuries.

Sexual assault and domestic violence can happen to anyone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four women and one in nine men have been a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime. One in three women and one in six men have been a victim of sexual violence in their lifetime. One in four children have been the victim of abuse or neglect. Domestic violence occurs across the world and affects people at all levels of economic status.

The Centers of Hope across the West Central Region will provide highly skilled and trained forensic nurses on-call 24/7 to assist patients of abuse. The new locations will also eliminate the need to transfer patients, allowing them to receive this specialized care without the additional trauma of being transferred to other facilities. With one in three Hoosier women experiencing a sexual assault at some point in their lives, and men and children at risk as well, there has never been a better time to address this critical need.

The Centers of Hope are located within the Emergency Department at IU Health Arnett Hospital, IU Health Frankfort Hospital and IU Health White Memorial Hospital. For urgent needs, please call 911 or 838-5100.