The Suffolk Commonwealth's Attorney's Office currently has a cooperative agreement with Chesapeake Forensic Specialists, LLC and Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters to provide sexual assault examinations. These SANE nurses conduct examinations, gather evidence and are available to testify as witnesses in sexual assault cases. As a result, the cases are generally stronger and there is a greater likelihood of conviction for those who commit these crimes. There is also an improved sensitivity to the needs of the victim through this program.
Sexual assault is any attempted or completed sexual act in which the victim did not willingly participate. Sexual assault is a crime of violence, rather than sex. Victims can be of any age, race, gender or financial status, including:
- Children molested by a family member or another trusted adult
- Women forced to have sex by a boyfriend, date or husband
- Males who are sexually abused or raped
- Women and men who suffer from sexual harassment
- Women and men who have been the target of a stalker
- Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse
- People abused while under the influence of alcohol or other "date-rape" drugs
Sexual assault is a violent, invasive crime that leaves victims emotionally and physically shattered. Following the attack, many victims develop a lingering sense of fear and helplessness, unable to reclaim a sense of safety and self-confidence.
Sexual assault crosses all socio-economic boundaries. Most victims of sexual assault are attacked by someone they know: neighbor, co-worker, friend or relative. Reporting the assault to Suffolk Police and the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office can be an important step toward preventing more sexual assaults by the same offender.
Awareness and Risk Reduction Tips For Stranger Sexual Assaults
- Use dead bolt locks.
- Travel with someone you trust whenever possible.
- Make sliding glass doors and windows safe by inserting a nail in the upper frame and a dowel or stick in the runner track.
- Check identification before admitting unknown persons who come to your home.
- Locking your car doors deters unwanted passengers.
- Don't leave mail on the seat of your car; it may disclose your home address.
- Hitchhiking and hitchhikers can be dangerous - avoid hitchhiking, and picking up hitchhikers.
- If you are followed, do not drive home. Drive to a busy lighted area or law enforcement agency.
- Carrying a cellular phone in your car can increase your safety. If your car breaks down, call the Suffolk Police or State Police for assistance.
- Get to know a neighbor you can call on in an emergency.
- Yell to attract attention if you need help.
Awareness and Risk Reduction Tips For Acquaintance Sexual Assaults
- Trust your instincts. If a situation feels bad, or you start to feel nervous, get away as soon as possible.
- Be aware of specific situations in which you do not feel relaxed and in charge. Avoid places which make you feel vulnerable.
- If an intimate situation starts to get out of hand, be forceful, firm and clear. Tell the person to stop, and leave as soon as possible.