New program helps bring justice for sexual assault victims - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

New program helps bring justice for sexual assault victims

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - A new partnership, aiming to help sexual assault victims, is now available in the Lowcountry.

"It's an unprecedented cooperation between MUSC and the Solicitor's office," Scarlett Wilson, solicitor for Charleston and Berkeley counties said.

That partnership centers around Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) who work at MUSC.

The examiners are registered nurses and help to ensure that proper steps are taken when evidence is collected from sexual assault victims.

"That first few minutes, the first couple of hours after the sexual assault happens is very important," Melonea Locklair Marek, executive director of People Against Rape said.

Since last May, the program has helped 145 sexual assault victims over the age of 18.

Experts agree that getting evidence after a sexual assault can be key to prosecuting the attacker.

"This kit often comes in evidence if we were able to find matches to DNA and things of that nature," Wilson says.

Wilson said SANEs get training so they know what to expect in the courtroom.  They are prepared to take the witness stand for sexual assault cases.

Currently, only 17% of sexual assault cases are successfully prosecuted.

For more information on the SANE program, click here.

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