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MRMC Promotes Sexual Assault Awareness Month with Free Nursing & Law Enforcement Trainings

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police officer, nurse, and photographer(Mission, TX) April is national Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In order to promote awareness of the impact sexual assault has on our community and to support efforts to eradicate sexual assault and abuse, Mission Regional Medical Center is hosting two separate professional trainings.

Texas law enforcement agencies reported an average of 339 violent crimes per day in 2008. This daily average accounts for 4 Murders, 22 Forcible Rapes, and 209 Aggravated Assaults in the Lone Star State. Statistically, about 10 of these violent crimes occur in Hidalgo County—and that’s just what is reported to law enforcement.

“Unfortunately, sexual assault and abuse are the most under-reported crimes; largely because an estimated 90% of all victims know the person who harms them,” explains Marianna Treviño Wright, Director of The Foundation at Mission Regional Medical Center. “In response to the community’s growing need for services to address the incidence of these crimes, Mission Regional Medical Center created The S.A.F.E. Place.”

The S.A.F.E. Place is open to everyone. It is staffed 24/7 by a certified Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and equipped with a state-of-the-art Secure Digital Forensic Imaging Camera. Victims of violence and abuse may be referred to Mission Regional Medical Center’s Forensic Unit by agencies throughout Hidalgo County, or come in on their own through the hospital’s Emergency Department. The S.A.F.E. Place is a special project of The Foundation at Mission Regional Medical Center, a nonprofit, 501 (c) (3) acute care hospital.

“All victims of abuse, assault and neglect are encouraged to seek medical evaluation as soon as possible for proper treatment,” states Evonne Lopez, R.N., S.A.N.E. “In order to increase the number of certified nurses available to treat victims in South Texas, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner’s (SANE) course will be offered at Mission Regional Medical Center, to Registered Nurses with a minimum of two years’ clinical experience.”

This 8-day training, provided by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas, is required prior to receiving clinical training for those interested in pursuing SANE certification. This course will be taught April 6-9, and April 20-23; it is open to all qualified candidates in South Texas, and free of charge. To enroll, please register online at

Additionally, the Sexual Assault and Family Violence Investigator’s Course (SAFVIC) for police cadets and law enforcement officers will be offered at Mission Regional Medical Center on April 16-18. Officers attending and successfully completing the course will receive 24 hours TCLEOSE credit.

“In Hidalgo County, and in Texas, sexual assault and family violence issues are growing,” states Sergeant Dan Walden, SAFVIC instructor. “However, the amount of instruction and resources available to officers called to deal with these issues is disproportionate to the number of calls received. Our goal is to give law enforcement officers the tools and training they need to respond effectively, investigate properly, and prevent family violence and sexual assault.”

To enroll in the SAFVIC at Mission Regional Medical Center, go to, and click on “Register for an Event”, or call 956-323-1102 for more information.