Have Confidence in Stark County’s First Victims’ Assault Program

Violence can impact anyone. If you or someone you love has been the victim of an assault, Mercy’s HAVEN Program can help.

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In 1999 Mercy Medical Center established Stark County’s first Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, which strives to ensure sexual assault victims are treated promptly by trained professionals in a safe, compassionate and confidential environment. In 2016, the program was rebranded HAVEN (Healing After Violent Encounters Network) to represent its expanded scope of services to include all victims of violence. Our HAVEN team is available to provide medical forensic nursing care to individuals impacted by violence, elder abuse and neglect, domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual assault.

Mercy’s HAVEN Program provides immediate specialized nursing care, support, and options to victims of assault, age 13 and older. Victims under the age of 13 are referred to The Children’s Network of Stark County Child Advocacy Center or Akron Children’s Hospital. HAVEN staff also raise awareness by providing community and professional education and outreach.

Specially Trained Nurses

Mercy Medical Center physicians and nurses understand the trauma that assault victims may experience, and they treat you with the dignity and sensitivity you deserve. When patients visit Mercy Emergency Department, specially trained nurses called sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) or forensic nurse examiners (FNE) are available to respond to provide compassionate and culturally sensitive medical care.

Mercy Emergency Department staff will not contact law enforcement about the assault unless you ask them. As mandated reporters, attacks on children, people over age 60, people who are disabled or live in a nursing home, and any injury resulting from gunshot, stabbing, inflicted second or third degree burns, or any serious injury, must be reported by law. The hospital must also under the law report a sexual assault. However, for adult patients who do not want to report the assault, this will be done without revealing any patient identifying information. General information will be given to law enforcement after the patient has been discharged.

Nurses Dedicated to Your Care

If you seek treatment at Mercy Emergency Department, you will receive kindness and respect from a nurse dedicated only to your care.

FNE nurses are registered nurses who have completed at least 40 hours of training in providing comprehensive physical and emotional care to the sexual assault patient, sexual assault evidence collection, and testifying effectively in court. Additional training also includes live patient simulation and photograph documentation. HAVEN forensic nurse examiners also receive extensive community based training and participation in professional activities to continually improve practice.

Things to Consider If You Have Been Assaulted

  • Find a safe place.
  • Reach out to someone you trust for support.
  • Know that you have options.
  • Seek medical attention at Mercy Emergency Department.
  • Even if you do not want to report the assault or do not have any obvious injuries, it can be important to discuss your care options, have a medical forensic evaluation and address any medical concerns related to the assault.
  • If you have been sexually assaulted, consider trying to avoid changing your clothes, brushing your teeth or bathing.

What to Expect During Your Emergency Visit

  • You will be transferred to a medical treatment room or private waiting area as soon as possible.
  • A Mercy Emergency Department doctor will evaluate and treat any physical injuries.
  • A HAVEN forensic nurse examiner will speak with you about your care options and medical concerns and can assist you with safety planning.
  • Information and follow up support are available. HAVEN Program staff can provide information about local social service providers, talk to you about your rights as a
    victim of crime, and assist you with a Victim of Crime Compensation application.
  • As a courtesy to our patients and at their request, sexual assault survivors may have evidence collected, which may include clothing, hair, blood, urine or other samples. The forensic nurse will make sure the evidence goes to law enforcement. Evidence collection exams are available at no additional charge.
  • Medical staff will offer any medications or vaccinations needed. This may include prophylactic medications for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and HIV. Your
    nurse will explain care needed after your exam and other available community services to help meet your needs.

Ask About HAVEN Community Education

Mercy HAVEN Program team members are available to conduct community education about our program, forensic medical care, sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking and other related topics. For more information, call 330-489-1000, ext. 2170.

Additional Community Resources

Alliance Area Domestic Violence Shelter

Alliance Area Rape and Sexual Assault Counseling/CommQuest

Children’s Network of Stark County

Community Legal Aid Services

Compass Rape Crisis

Domestic Violence Project, Inc.

Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center

Ohio Victim of Crime Compensation Program

RAHAB Ministries

Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties

Stark County Prosecutor’s Office

Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE)

Mercy Medical Center’s HAVEN Program meets the needs of assault patients by providing immediate, compassionate, culturally sensitive, and comprehensive medical forensic evaluation and treatment by trained, professional forensic nurses within the parameters of the Ohio Nurse Practice Act, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner standards of the International Association of Forensic Nurses and the Ohio Department of Health.