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Mississippi’s Center for Violence Prevention’s Bridge Forensic Clinic Announces New Rape Kit


Due to the continued rise in sexual assaults coupled with the lack of prosecution of those crimes in Mississippi, Bridge Forensic Clinic organized a multi-disciplinary kit review committee with the intent of making evidence-based changes to the evidence collection kit. Members of this committee include representatives from Bridge Forensic Clinic, Mississippi Attorney General’s Office, Rankin County Sheriff’s Office, Mississippi Forensics Laboratory, Rankin County District Attorney’s Office and other Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.


Consultation from national forensic groups provided guidance, and law enforcement and local forensic experts shared their “on-the-ground” experiences resulting in the first kit update in over 15 years.


“We are so proud of the leadership of our own Nurse Practitioner Beth McCord for her commitment to get this job done. Our agency understands that justice is key to recovery for so many victims, and too many times justice is denied due to a lack of evidence. It’s our belief that this is the first step to improving the way the State of Mississippi deals with sex crimes,” said Sandy Middleton


“The process of updating the kit included addressing outdated procedures and implementing the newest evidence-based protocols for kit collection. A sample collection kit may take up to four hours to complete and is usually done in a hospital emergency room. Our goal, as a committee, was to look at the kit from all different perspectives to provide the best possible outcome for the victim, law enforcement and prosecution,” said Beth McCord.


Sandy Middleton, Executive Director for Mississippi’s Center for Violence Prevention and Beth McCord FNP-C, SANE-A, Bridge Forensic Operations Manager, spoke at the press release this week. Also in attendance: local legislators, law enforcement officials, representatives from The Center’s Board of Directors and Advisory Board, advocates from The Center for Violence Prevention and community supporters.


WHO WE ARE


The Center for Violence Prevention has effectively provided emergency shelter and supportive services to victims of interpersonal violence in central Mississippi since 1990. Originally focusing on victims of domestic violence, The Center developed trauma-informed practices and a client-centered approach to meeting the emergency and recovery needs of victims. Over the last decade, the service focus has continuously evolved to address gaps in services including victims of sexual assault and victims of human trafficking.


In September of 2017, The Center opened the state’s first and only human trafficking shelter, named the Tower. The Center is also a member of five human trafficking task forces across the state, providing advocates to aid law enforcement with emergency functions and services to victims. Those victims have access to all services offered by The Center.


In November of 2018, The Center opened the Bridge Forensic Clinic with the goal of providing a safe and trauma-informed environment for victims of sexual assault. The Bridge provides kit collection onsite at the Bridge and at five local hospital emergency rooms and the National Guard through an MOU. Bridge Forensic Clinic employs three Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners to respond to victims. All victims of sexual assault have access to all services offered by The Center.


For more information, follow us on FaceBook at The Center for Violence Prevention, or Twitter and Instagram @msc4vp, and our website at www.mscvp.org




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