Local officers complete medical forensic exam training

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The medical forensic exam training took place recently in Cumberland.

HANCOCK COUNTY — County survivors of sexual assault and those in other areas of Central Indiana now have a place nearby they can go to document the assault they’ve been through. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program officially launched in August at the Knightstown Health Care Center.

The facility is where survivors get free exams to help officials document their stories, preserve legal evidence and provide medication. Hancock County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Aimee Herring noted that four sexual assault survivors were helped in the first few weeks of the program.

As part of an ongoing effort to ensure sexual assault cases are handled in the best manner possible, law enforcement officers in Hancock County recently completed training focused on Medical Forensic Exams at a gathering in Cumberland and another at Greenfield-Central High School, local officials said in a release.

The recent training sessions were organized and hosted by Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton and his staff. The training was needed for officials who are part of the local Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).

“Medical Forensic Exams are a vital tool in preserving important evidence in sexual assault cases,” Herring said. “This training focused on what is involved in a Medical Forensic Exam, what role it plays in the prosecution of sexual offenders and the important role law enforcement officers play in this process.”

The Medical Forensic Exams training was provided at no cost to local law enforcement through two sessions offered in order to accommodate the large number of participants.

“Our presenters were top notch,” Eaton said.

They included Barbra Bachmeier, a nurse practitioner and advanced practice forensic nurse examiner at IU Health, and Tanya Malone, program coordinator for the Center of Hope and Forensic Program at Riley Hospital for Children. She works at the Franciscan East Center of Hope. The highly trained professionals in the field have many decades of experience between them and shared their knowledge with the group.

“They are skilled professionals who present material in a way that’s simple to comprehend,” Eaton said.

Bachmeier and Malone covered many topics during the training including what happens during a Medical Forensic Exam, what an exam can — and cannot — tell you, when a prepubescent acute exam is necessary and how strangulation may or may not present itself.

“These sessions provided important information to law enforcement officers who took advantage of this opportunity,” Herring said. “We deeply appreciate those who took time out of their busy schedules to enhance their understanding. We’re confident the information they gained will make them better officers when faced with a sexual assault case.”

Eaton noted this was the second training session offered since the SART was reinvigorated in 2020.

Indiana required every county to have a SART to comply with duties under the statute for sexual assault victim response. The SART is comprised of local health care, law enforcement and victim advocacy professionals.

To report a sexual assault that occurred in Hancock County, contact the law enforcement agency in the area where the assault occurred. If the event is an emergency, please call 911 immediately.