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Interview with Kay Griel, Coordinator of the SAFE Program

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Medical Minute: 3:19

Steve Williams:  Kay Griel, with us this morning, she is the Coordinator of the SAFE Program.  Kay, good morning, thanks for coming in this morning.

Kay Griel:  Hi, it’s great to be here.

Steve Williams:  Tell us, what is the SAFE Program?

Kay Griel:  The SAFE Program is the sexual assault forensic nurse examiner program at Mt. Nittany Medical Center.

Steve Williams:  Why is it important that emergency department nurses are trained and certified as sexual assault forensic examiners?

Kay Griel:  Sexual assault nurse examiners provide a very unique service to the community and to victims of sexual assault.  We coordinate our care, along with law enforcement and with advocacy.  When the victim comes to the hospital, it provides options for her care that she or he can decide exactly how their care is going to be provided. They can decide who they will talk to and exactly how the follow-up care will occur.  They’re the ones in control, the victims are the ones who lost power and control and we try to empower them by providing options for their care.

Steve Williams:  If a woman is sexually assaulted, should she come to the emergency department or call the police; what should she do first?

Kay Griel:  The very most important thing is that she remains safe and that she feels safe.  She can obtain that through different options.  She can call a Women’s Resource Center, at (814)234-5050, she can call law enforcement of course at 911, or she can come to the Emergency Room at Mt. Nittany Medical Center.

Steve Williams:  Is there a time frame here?  I mean, should they do it as quickly as possible after the assault takes place? 

Kay Griel:  Ideally, if she’s ready to come forward, as soon as possible is the best.  We suggest that there’s a 72-hour golden window of opportunity for evidence collection and also medical treatment and care.  Just because she comes forward doesn’t mean that she has to go ahead with prosecution, that’s up to the District Attorney.  But we will evaluate patients on the care that is needed as they present for forensically for a period of 5 days, but beyond that there really isn’t a lot of forensic evidence that is there. 

Steve Williams:  Where can the community get more information about the SAFE Program?

Kay Griel:  By calling the Emergency Room at Mt. Nittany Medical Center and that number is (814) 234-6110. 

Steve Williams:  Kay Grow, the coordinator of the SAFE Program, thanks for being here this morning.

Kay Griel:  Thank you for having me.


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