Nursing, hospital shortage mean Virginia sex assault victims travel hours for exams

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A new study says sex assault victims in Virginia must sometimes travel for hours because of a shortage of qualified nurses and hospitals that provide sexual assault examinations.

The study’s author, Stephen Weiss, says that finding helps explain why less than half of such victims report attacks.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the study was conducted at the direction of the Virginia General Assembly Joint Commission on Health Care. It was presented to the commission last month, and the author is scheduled to brief the Virginia State Crime Commission on Tuesday.

The report found that of the nearly 100,000 registered nurses in Virginia, fewer than 200 are credentialed forensic nurses. It also found that out of 122 licensed hospitals, 16 provide the sexual assault forensic examinations necessary to collect crucial evidence.

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Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.richmond.com

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